No film director specializes in sorrowful, stylish, star-crossed lovers quite like Baz Luhrmann.
In ‘The Great Gatsby,’ opening May 10 nationwide, Luhrmann has imagined F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic for a new generation.
Starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tobey Maguire, this update of the novel is long on style yet falls flat in establishing a relationship with the audience.
Midwestern bonds trader Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) has rented a small cottage for his own professional pursuits in Long Island. His summer studies are abruptly interrupted when Carraway becomes captivated by and drawn deeply into the luxurious lives of his neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio) and his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan.)
Soon Carraway finds himself surrounded by the elite upper class, as even Jay Gatsby himself has taken an interest in him. Not immune to the allure of their secret affairs and back door business dealings, Carraway becomes our entry into the social scheming and twisted relationships of the super-rich of Long Island in 1922.
But, who is Jay Gatsby? And why is he so very interested in Nick Carraway?
‘The Great Gatsby’ is visually splendid. Luhrmann doesn’t disappoint in turning the colors and manic energy up to add some vibrant life to Fitzgerald’s story.
The lack of any relatable characters might not make the eye candy worth your efforts, however. None of our principle characters has much, if any, notably admirable qualities. Seemingly all of them are motivated by lusty ambition towards their own personal agendas.
The ending result is that the dramatic turns of events that take place during ‘The Great Gatsby’ are merely observed instead of being felt by the viewer. Luhrmann, despite having enlisted some very capable actors, fails to find one character or performance for us to actually care about.
Is ‘The Great Gatsby’ a good movie? Yes. It is also entertaining. But, it does not pack the emotional punch that Luhrmann’s previous features ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Romeo+Juliet’ did.
This passionless re-imagining is closer to ‘The Good Gatsby’ rather than great.