BAZ Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ is the fifth film adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel.
Aspiring writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) tells the story of his reclusive millionaire friend, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Every weekend, Gatsby throws lavish parties held in his mansion, covered in the press and attended by the most select socialites in New York. Nick becomes the first person to ever receive an invite from Gatsby and gets to know him personally. Nick soon realises that Gatsby has sought his friendship because he is related to Daisy Buchannan (Carey Mulligan), whom Gatsby was once in a relationship with. With Nick’s help, Gatsby embarks on rekindling this relationship with the now married Daisy.
To my surprise, I quite enjoyed ‘The Great Gatsby’ - a simple tale, told in grand fashion, with a lot of visual flair. The plot itself, essentially all about an extra-marital affair, was not my cup of tea and occasionally made the film drag. The party scenes held at Gatsby’s mansion are the highlight; an extraordinary feast for the eyes, that work in depicting 1920s excess.
Equally excessive was the abundance of CGI used, even for something as simple as a shot transition. This was totally unnecessary, especially for a film about ‘20s socialites. I’ve always thought that CGI hasn’t been perfected to a realistic point and too much of it looks fake. This film was unable to change my opinion and I believe that this, and contemporary rap/R&B music used during party scenes, will age the film within a few years.
Everyone, with the exception of Nick and Gatsby, are incredibly shallow and unpleasant (which is the point). Maguire and (particularly) DiCaprio are both on top form in their respective roles and make ‘The Great Gatsby’, with its amazing non-CGI visuals, worth recommending.
By Kelan Headley