Disappointing is not how I would normally describe the Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s movies, in fact quite the reverse. His Moulin Rouge! (2001) rates amongst my all time favourite’s, I thoroughly enjoyed the epic Australia (2008) and his debut film Strictly Ballroom (1992) was a comic breath of fresh air. But his latest cinematic outing The Great Gatsby (2013) is the disappointment I refer too.
The story, as your probably aware, follows the life of millionaire Jay Gatsby ( As you can probable gather Fitzgerald’s sad and malevolent story concerns wealth and privilege and how life has no meaning unless you have these two commodities. Leonardo DiCaprio) a self made man seeking to emulate high society. Adapted for the screen by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce from F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of the same name. It’s narrated by Nick Carraway (a miscast Tobey Mcguire) who when the film opens is resident in a sanatorium where his alcoholism has lead to depression and dissolution with life. Nicks story starts in New York in 1922 and basically tells of a love affair between Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). When the two of them first meet Jay Gatsby is a poor man and asked Daisy to wait for him to make his fortune and then they could be married and live a life of greed and excess.
Luhrmann adaptation is as an outlandish spectacle, its beautiful to look at, its got a great soundtrack co-produced by Jay-Z, the acting is not exceptional, all except DiCaprio who plays the enigma that is Gatsby with the indulgence that comes from being an experienced actor. But the story is dull, dull, dull, bordering on the tedious, we’ve got a bunch of nasty people that will do any thing to maintain their wealth and power. The main female character is a woman who can’t be trusted and would only fall in love with a man if he has an abundance of money to shower upon her every whim. Why did Luhrmann choose to film this dreadful tale that’s already been adapted four times? A blemish on the Australian’s oeuvre.