A review by Jordan
‘You can’t repeat the past’
You can’t repeat the past?’
‘Why of course you can!’
Damn. Does this mean that after The Great Gatsby there is a chance that Baz Luhrmann will be allowed yet another chance at directing a feature film when he has yet again proved his astounding incompetence in telling a coherent, textured, satisfying story and retreated once more to his ‘more is more’ method of amateurish filmmaking – having his audience sit dumbly; being forced to leave all logical thought at the ticket stand in anticipation of the nonsensical, often literary disgracing, audibly abusive self-indulgent mess of dull CGI images and poorly dubbed, amateurish American accents that is to come?
Due to the fact that it has astoundingly set alight the American and International box offices; unfortunately yes.
While I’m yet to read it, I’ve been informed by many reliable sources that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is one of the finest, and most important of all published in America; enchantingly depicting the rise and fall of an enigmatic dreamer whose refusal to let go of the hope that has fuelled his ascent into the stratosphere of the elite eventually dooms him to an end more befitting of the life he so wished to escape as a child. Perhaps I should never of seen Luhrmann’s film, which is more interested in depicting lavishly dull parties fuelled by inappropriate ‘music’ from such revered artists as Jay-Z, Andre 3000 and will.i.am and a romance impossible to care about due to those involved being painted as nothing more than self-obsessed, egotistical socialites. In one particularly embarrassing scene our protagonists encounter a sports car filled with African American’s dirty dancing to blaring rap music whilst speeding across a packed bridge… in 1920’s New York… I’m aware that this is included in an attempt to translate the source material for a modern audience and showcase the glamour that accompanied the unbelievably rich, but for lack of a better word, it bitterly fails.
Perhaps the cast can at least go some way to redeeming this torrid mess you wonder? Not a chance. DiCaprio looks the part in his coral suits and high-waisted pants but his continuous staring through his creepily-lit tower window down at his next door neighbour does nothing for his likability, Carey Mulligan appears annoying at the best of times and not at all worth fighting for (especially with the undeniably lovely Jordan in the frame), Edgerton perhaps retains the most credibility and will avoid a Golden Raspberry nomination but struggles in his essential moments of confrontation and Maguire’s acting is equivalent to that of an unpopular year 12 drama student who somehow landed the lead role in the school’s play. As a positive, at least Vince Colosimo didn’t falter with his one line of dialogue, and (SPOILER ALERT) Isla Fisher played a very good dead person when her role commanded it.
When I see a movie, the first thing I look for is if the director is showing the audience enough respect through his/her techniques and filmic style to warrant the admission price. Recently I gave Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt a perfect 5 stars based on this method of observation; I can give Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby only 1, because never have I felt so utterly unappreciated as a paying cinema goer. Not only did Mr Luhrmann fail to provide an gripping plot, he failed at absolute fundamentals such as vocal dubbing in exterior shots and time lapse editing. He, and this movie, deserve every bit of critical negativity coming their way.
1 ‘Old Sport’ out of a Vocabulary.