The Great Gatsby

Review: The Great Gatsby

11 Jun 13

A Flawed But Otherwise Faithful Adaptation

Given Baz Luhrmann's zest for cinema spectacle, his gaudy visual sensibilities fit the The Great Gatsby period of excess and decadence. Luhrmann's adaptation follows many that have come before it which kinda limits its appeal. However, like any film adaptations of famous literary works, its the director and the actors that command the audience.

DiCaprio gives it his all as the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a man whose financial gains are merely a product of the time. Gatsby's unbreakable hope to become a part of New York's illustrious high society is fuelled by his love for Daisy Buchanan (played ably by Carey Mulligan). This serves as the backbone to the narrative which features many strands of soap opera-esque narrative cliches of secrets, lies and betrayal.

However, in spite of the strong performances of the cast, in particular Joel Edgerton as the brute Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, there is a sense of shallowness and disconnection with the characters. Yes, these characters are far from perfect however they are ultimately tragic figures, which prohibits the movie to appease any expectations, providing an exasperated feel rather offering a grand emotional pay off.

Lurhmann and his co-writer Craig Pearce stick close to the source material. However, there's a sense of something missing which is disappointing. Although a visual spectacle and a 21st Century soundtrack which nicely fits in, The Great Gatsby seems to be a missed opportunity.