The Great Gatsby (2013) - dir. Baz Lurhmann
TWO reviews in one day?? Be still my laptop.
All I’m saying is that if Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t win an Oscar at this point…I’m pretty sure the Academy is just doing it as a running gag at this point. ”And the winner for Best Actor is…DANIEL DAY LEWIS AS LEONARDO DiCAPRIO AS JAY GATSBY!” ;_; creys 5eva I don’t even know.
This is the third movie version of The Great Gatsby I’ve sat through after reading the book in high school like every other high school senior in the country. And while I admit that I’ve read the novel like once since graduation, it remains one of my favorite portraits of the decadence and opulence in the lives of rich socialites in the Roaring Twenties. This latest adaptation by Luhrmann far and away brings that to life in a way no other adaptation has done.
But what did you expect? It’s Baz Fucking Lurhmann, the man who brought you a modernized Romeo and Juliet (1996)and the wonderfully exuberant yet tragic Moulin Rouge! (2001). This is his latest glitter-and-drama-studded baby and it’s FANTASTIC, I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS.
The consensus on movie aggregator Rotten Tomatoes is that Gatsby is all style and no substance. Time to re-read the source material, peasants. BRACE YOURSELVES, FORMER ENGLISH MAJOR IN THE HOUSE:
The F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is made not just of ink and pages, but of heart and soul. The heart of the novel is the eponymous Jay Gatsby’s longing to have Daisy Buchanan back in his life, but preferably as Daisy Gatsby. He is so entirely smitten with her, even before the Great War (oh how young and unscathed by the horrors of the world they were, woe) that he held all these parties and bought all this amazing shit with the disgusting amount of money he procured from various questionable activities and family deaths. Which brings us to the soul of the novel, which is the over-the-top, bombastic and wanton luxury that is Gatsby’s, Tom Buchanan’s, and anyone else’s lifestyle in the West and East Egg parts of New York. Granted, rich people who aren’t Gatsby are much less, I don’t know, overly blatantabout their wealth. Which is dangerous territory to tread because Tom has some buckaroos, lemme tell ya. I’m pretty sure they took the plantation from Candieland in Django Unchained and added six hundred more rooms with a jockey field out front. So yeah, dude’s rich as fuck and you better recognize. But that about sums up the soul of the novel: varying levels of disgusting wealth and it is so much fun.
The point I’m trying to reach here is that Lurhmann’s version has equal measure of heart and soul created by the source material. It’s the visual feast you’ve come to expect from one of his films while absolutely retaining why all of that shiny stuff and colorful Indian cotton shirts exist: for her. Daisy. The green light of Gatsby’s life. All of that and it still wasn’t enough.
And the casting. OH LAWD, THE FLAWLESS CASTING. Everyone was perfect sit the hell down no exceptions Oscars for everyone bye. Carey Mulligan’s Daisy was wonderfully naive without being annoying like she is in the book and the dialogue made much more sense through her interpretation that didn’t make much sense to me on paper or were said in other adaptations like they’re just being recited. Tobey MacGuire makes me cringe in ways I can’t fully explain, but I liked his Nick Carraway. I think he did the role justice. Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan is exactly how I imagined her and HOLY SHIT I JUST LOOKED UP JOEL EDGERTON ON IMDB AND HE WAS OWEN LARS IN THE PHANTOM MENACE AND I DON’T KNOW MY LIFE ANYMORE. Sorry, that was actually shocking to me. That’s the only thing I’ve seen him in and it was such a negligible role. I very much enjoyed his performance because Tom Buchanan is such an asshole, but he came off as rather sympathetic to me. Yeah, he was a cheating douchenozzle that pretty much caused Gatsby’s demise (spoiler alert hurr durr go read a book), but here’s this guy out of fucking nowhere trying to steal hiz gurl. While he’s also cheating. ACK, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO FEEL. Which makes him perfect. I love it.
BUT LEST WE FORGET: LEONARDO SWEETBABYJESUS DiCAPRIO. I can’t believe I felt anything other than love and adoration for this man. He is Gatsby. HE IS GATSBY. Gatsby, what Gatsby? DIS GATSBY. You get the idea. Like, I was borderline crying when the camera panned up and there’s Jay Fucking Gatsby with his ritzy drink in his ritzy house and his ritzy existence going, “I’m Gatsby.” Cue the theater erupting and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. DiCaprio has come into his own so goddamn hard. No longer is he the blond heartthrob sinking into the bottom of the North Atlantic to sad flute music because Rose couldn’t scootch the hell over on that door. No, he is an absolute powerhouse that demands your attention and respect as a master of his craft. He’s a brilliant actor SO GIVE HIM AN AWARD OR A CHOCOLATE BUNNY (except he’s an animal rights activist lol) OR SOMETHING FOR HIS EFFORT. In the immortal words of Gob Bluth: COME ON!
But we can jerk about Leonardo DiCaprio’s perfection all day (or I could, anyway). Let’s talk music! BRACE YOURSELVES AGAIN, FORMER PRE-MUSIC ED MAJOR IN THE HOUSE (I’m indecisive okay):
People complained right off the bat about the rap music in this movie and that Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter was a producer and headed most of the soundtrack duties, blah blah blah. I don’t listen to a lot of his stuff, but I respect the dude as a businessman, entrepreneur and musician. YES, RAP IS MUSIC, DEAL. The music in The Great Gatsby is an extraordinary fusion of modern pop music and the swing/jazz music that is quintessential to the 1920s. The anachronistic nature of it doesn’t draw you away from the film. Or maybe it did for you. Sorry about that, I guess. PLUS, who could turn their nose at soundtrack contributors like Florence Welch and Lana Del Ray? Dirty commie bastards, that’s who. Probably. 
Honestly, the only negative thing I can say about this film is that I wasn’t a fan of the text appearing on screen like an AMV on YouTube whenever Nick Carraway was writing. I didn’t feel it necessary, but it was a small part of the movie and didn’t detract from it, so whatever.
Incidentally, this was a movie that I actually did want to see in 3D because I believe that was Luhrmann’s way of taking 3D for exactly what it is nowadays: extravagant and gimmicky. You know, like the soul of the novel and film. SO DEEP. But alas, I was/am too broke to get the full metaphorical experience.
I try to be as professional as possible while writing these thingSAHAHAHAHAHA DID YOU SEE THAT? I WAS ALMOST SERIOUS. These aren’t professional at all. God. But what I mean to say is that I don’t like to completely dismiss a bad movie or totally fawn over a great movie and completely polarize the issue with a “you can agree with me or be wrong” mentality. Oh, well. You can love and appreciate The Great Gatsby as much as I do or be wrong. Boom, roasted.
Final Verdict: A+