Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

Posted: June 9, 2013 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Great Gatsby has one of my favorite qualities about a movie. You either get it and love it, or you don’t get it and hate it. Baz Lurhman is weird, and visual, and stylistic. He got great performances from his actors and made a fantastic movie.

The Great Gatsby
Directed by: Baz Lurhman
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo Dicaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher

Premise: Gatsby follows struggling writer, Nick Caraway (Tobey Maguire) as he journeys from his small town to the big apple to hang with his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her husband (Joel Edgerton). He moves next door to the mysterious Gatsby (Leonardo Dicaprio) who throws extravagant and elegant parties just for the hell of it. Caraway finds himself pulled into a world of secrets, betrayal, love triangles, deception and friendship when he surprisingly befriends Gatsby who holds a deep and tragic secret.

My Review: The first time I saw Moulin Rouge I hated it. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand it. I took it too seriously. Upon second viewing, and every viewing after that, it really is one of the greatest musical movies that exists. Gatsby stays true to Baz’s visceral style: luxurious parties, quirky and over the top characters, and lavish settings.  He creates a place that is both in the world and not in the world at the same time. And it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Leonardo Dicaprio and Carey Mulligan pull out brilliant performances at Gatsby and Daisy. Dicaprio made Gatsby utterly relatable. Sure he was like this mythical creature to everyone, rich, luxurious, unattainable, but to us mortals, Gatsby was merely a man, trying to make up for something in his life, trying to fill a void. Dicpario made Gatsby fathomable and unfathomable at the same time. Dicaprio was particularly brilliant showing his comical side and his happy sides. Sides we haven’t seen too much of in his previous movies. The look on his face when he was throwing those shirts at Daisy was so filled with love and happiness; I swear he looked 10 years younger. He looked like Jack Dawson declaring his love to Rose. Also, the scene where he is about to meet Daisy for the first time in years is probably the best scene in the movie. You feel his nervousness, you see his vulnerability. You know exactly what it is like to be in that position. It was uncomfortable, funny, and sweet at the same time. Please, someone, give Leonardo Dicaprio an Oscar already! (He was robbed from Django! Robbed!) Carey Mulligan also gave a performance that was both delicate as it was haunting and chilling.

There are many was a movie like this could have gone wrong. I remember trying to read this book in elementary school and it came off as wordy and verbose, and frankly, boring. Baz managed to make the film exiting and visually beautiful. He created a world you wanted to be invited into and also his musical choices were excellent. Gatsby won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Baz, you’ll be a fan of this. Because we all know, Baz does romantic tragedy like no one else.

 

Rating: 3 ½ Stars

 

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