Title: The Great Gatsby
Country: Australia, USA
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Baz Luhrmann
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Watched this topical Baz Luhrmann extravaganza in a plain 2D version, adapted from a world-famous classic, the daunting comparison is predestined, lucky me for being completely oblivious of the original novel and its earlier cinema adaption, so I feel privileged to take my pleasure from viewing this film without being nettled by any premeditated notions whatsoever, blessing the ignorance!
Zero expectation does assuage the nitpicking impulse, this period film establishes its unparalleled visual spectacle which its additional charge of a 3D fee could be considerably goaded, it has been the first time I wish I could watched it with the unease gizmo since INCEPTION (2010). The upbeat Hip-Hop infused party music and retro-induced melancholiac strains (now I can not get Lana Del Rey’s YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL out of my mind) is another novelty rarely being presented in a period drama, Luhrmann again victoriously testifies himself is the maestro of contemporary cinema’s flamboyance and garishness (without any pejorative overtone).
The long-time-no-see former Spidey Tobey Maguire (who is still able to pass off as a twenty-some due to his perpetual baby-face) is the narrator of an ill-fated love story, and surprisingly he does occupy such a lengthy screen time, even outstays DiCaprio’s Gatsby. He is the observer, the bystander and a useful buffer between Gatsby and Daisy, Luhrmann and his co-writer Craig Pearce intentionally sacrifice his personal life (no relationship entanglement at all) to intensify his unspeakable admiration towards Gatsby (a bromance in the period time?), he is the one who is captivated by Gatsby’s beguiling friendship, his grandstanding lifestyle and the money to sustain all these grandiosity and opulence. Maguire is impeccable as a wide-eyed third wheel, a surviver who is destined to tell the tale.
Then comes the problematic couple, Gatsby and Daisy, both being introduced under the heightened and pompous settings, Mulligan’s Daisy is first seen by her slender legs swinging with curtains fluttering around, a spoiled flapper subordinated by male chauvinism (who sincerely hope her young daughter would be a fool since it is the perfect niche for a girl). Gatsby, whose front officially being spotlighted during the lavish party, with tender golden light lingers much longer than it should be, DiCaprio’s over-familiar persona almost prompts me into laughter. Both thespians are impassioned with the best they can offer, their first meeting in the film is a marvelous romantic gambit, and Baz still gets it!
I must be too optimistic to say DiCaprio may stand a chance to win over Oscar’s attention this time, his red-faced yelling outburst during the conflict is his Oscar-bait, but makes me squirm a bit, since it is his stock antics. For Mulligan, her role has an innate defect for being the collateral culprit of the denouement, so the misogynous judgement aside, Mulligan is praiseworthy in balancing the morally equivocal personality with her dainty style. My only cast gripe is the usually-outstanding Edgerton, as Daisy’s gentrified husband Tom, Edgerton is too vulgar in physique and looks like a nouveau-riche doesn’t tally with the chic surroundings.
A few technical glitches, the editing is a shade too fast in the first half, noticeably during the happy-moment sequence of the reunion, the glitz does hurt my eyes. Then near the end, the caption-floating of Fitzgerald’s text is a lame maneuver, we all know there are too many to tell in the book, however poetic it is, a more subtle approach is recommended.
It is an over-romanticized saga, the final telephone call good-heartedly bookends it, even facing the demise, at least a tinge of warmth manages to run through our senses, one may call it over sentimental, others may refer it as poetic license, all in all, I think it is worth your ticket, and I cannot believe I would say that, even in the despised 3D form.