The Great Gatsby (or What is Baz Luhrmann Butchering This Time?)

Posted: August 29, 2013 in Movies, Op-ed, Reviews, Uncategorized
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Let me start by saying I am not, in any way, shape, form, or fashion, a Baz Luhrmann fan. I despised his take on Romeo & Juliet. Moulin Rouge really wasn’t all that bad and I didn’t even bother with Australia. For some reason, most likely the fact that I will watch anything featuring Leonardo Dicaprio, I decided to give The Great Gatsby a chance. In retrospect…I couldn’t be more happy that I did.

For those uneducated on the subject, Gatsby tells the story of aspiring writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) who moves to New York to work on Wall Street and write the great American novel. Somewhere along the way, he gets caught up in the past and lifestyle of his very wealthy Jay Gatsby portrayed expertly by Leonardo Dicaprio. Caraway is also drawn into the quite literal affairs of his cousin Daisy, with whom he is in love, and her husband Tom Buchanan. He is thrown into all types of situations from small apartment parties with Tom’s lover, backroom gatherings with the rich and powerful, and Gatsby’s own legendary gatherings. For those familiar, the ending is represented expertly and beautifully. For everyone else, I won’t spoil it for you.

Baz Luhrmann paints a vivid picture of the roaring 20’s, even if it is inaccurate at times. Luhrmann has a way of making everything bright, colorful, and always grandiose. The images alone make this film worth watching. The stark contrast of bustling 1920’s New York and developing 1920’s New York makes for some interesting scenery.

The music, which interestingly enough is mostly modern that being another signature of Luhrmanns, was produced and arranged mostly by hip hop veteran Shawn “Jay-z” Carter. The soundtrack does include quite a bit of music from the roaring 20’s, but also quite a bit of Jay-z’s music spanning most of his career. The imagery combined with an interesting soundtrack make this film a truly unique experience.

A good, solid script backed by a very strong ensemble cast make for a pleasent viewing experience. Baz Luhrmann paints an interesting and original picture here. This one is well worth your time and money.

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