2013; five years after Australia, twelve since Moulin Rouge and seventeen since Romeo and Juliet, Baz Luhrmann returns with another dazzling creation. This time he takes on the brilliant, classic novel, The Great Gatsby.
Now we all know that critics don't generally like Baz or his style and there have been the usual comments on his lack of subtlety, but I think this is an old story that can take a modern makeover. The song choices were superb and matched the feel of the Twenties, showing that as humans we really don't change that much. Indeed I think the story of J. Gatsby could easily be set now. A world of consumer culture, unchecked wealth and greed building up to a recession, with politicians, bankers, celebrities and rich landowners mixing together at massive parties, making us all wonder who is actually in charge.
The movie is beautifully shot, making excellent use of the two mansion houses around which most of the story is set, while also capturing the sounds of New York and the parties exquisitely, building right up to the gun shot, which is guaranteed to make you jump. The cast in turn enhances the film with DiCaprio delivering a quick thinking and yet nervous Gatsby, while Carey Mulligan is both delicate and powerful in her portrayal of Daisy. Maguire, Debicki and Edgerton were less memorable, although still good, but in the minor roles it was nice to see Isla Fisher playing a more serious part.
All in all The Great Gatsby is a stunning movie and makes an interesting connection between the past and present. As Gatsby speculates, the past can be repeated (although sadly not begun over).