#512/#63 The Great Gatsby
In the roaring 20’s we meet our narrator Nick (Toby Maguire) as he finds himself drawn into the mysterious life of his new neighbour, Mr Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his former relationship with Nick’s cousin Daisy (Cary Mulligan).
I can’t say I was particularly drawn to this picture but my family were all going so I thought I’d tag along as well. I’ve always liked Baz Luhrmann’s other works (Moulin Rouge, Australia, and to an extent Romeo and Juliet) but this one didn’t strike a chord with me at all. I’d also never read the book so I was going in with no preconceptions about the story. Other than some rather impressive visuals and costumes, I can’t say I really cared for this one, old sport.
DiCaprio as Gatsby and Joel Edgerton as Daisy’s husband Tom both gave good performances from the main cast but I felt Mulligan and Maguire’s parts could have been played by anyone and it wouldn’t have made a different. They brought nothing interesting to either of their roles and as such I felt no emotion one way or another towards their characters. Given that so much of the story revolves around Daisy this also meant I was never grabbed by the narrative.
The film was also way too long at almost two and half hours. For the minimal amount of goings on in the plot there did not need to be such a padded out runtime. The visuals however worked really well, with the CGI and the green screen giving New York than olden style feel to it on top of an overall grandness in scope. Similarly the costumes, sets and locations all felt like you were back in the 20’s.
What didn’t work was the music. Luhrmann took the same chance he did with Moulin Rouge and used modern music, mostly hip hop and rap, for the soundtrack but it didn’t fit the tone this time and felt out of place. Some of the parties blended well enough but other than that it fell flat almost every time.
I didn’t dislike Gatsby but it left me feeling ambivalent to the whole endeavour. I went in not knowing anything, and I left not caring about anything I had just seen. It was literally like I had sat in the the theatre for 2 1/2 hours looking a blank screen for the amount of impression it left. 2.5/5