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The Great Gatsby (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars


“I’m sick of all you people” dialogue spoken by Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby.

You said it, brother. By the time Carraway (Toby Maguire) utters this line late in the third act, I felt relieved someone on-screen verbalized what I had been thinking for over an hour. After a nine month release delay, Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated retelling (in 3D no less) of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, is alas a beautiful bore. The visual splendor is evident in every frame, eye-popping use of the 3D format is the best since Cameron reinvigorated the medium with Avatar. Which is to be expected since Luhrmann is a noted master of visual storytelling, however his weakness in dramatic scene building is evident from the awkward opening moments.

This fourth rendition of the source material is lavishly mounted, but the narrative and characters aren’t compelling enough to warrant the excessive running-time. DiCaprio, in the title role, is the hustling bootlegger turned recluse, who has everything but the woman he desires. Joel Edgerton plays the womanizing, sportsman Tom Buchanan, and Carey Mulligan is his much sought-after wife, Daisy Buchanan. The acting is adequate and in step with the over-the top theatrics indicative of the time-period, but the film is ultimately forgettable.

The Great Gatsby represents the second literary adaption from Luhrmann and his extremely talented team of artists after helming Romeo+Juliet, seventeen years ago. Reuniting with leading man Leonardo DiCaprio and infusing a similar mix of stylish and eclectic musical choices, The Great Gatsby would seem like an ideal matching of star, director and material. So how did such a sure-fire thing, turn into one of the year’s biggest disappointments?

Director: Baz Luhrmann,
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan

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