Posted May 12 2013 - 08:36 AM
I'll be the democratic response. I loved the film, start to finish. I admit to being a huge Baz Luhrmann fan, but that does not give him a free pass. Australia was a misfire...a well-intentioned and occasionally great looking film but a misfire nonetheless. With the delay from Christmas, I was worried for Gatsby. I wasn't worried about the 3D, nor was I worried about the cast or the production, but I was worried about the film.
Quite a few of the criticisms are valid, but I feel most of them are irrelevant. This film is stunning in its execution, and the details of the story are carried by the lead performers. There isn't any real subtlety in the telling of this story, but that matches up with my memory of the novel, and certainly our cultural memory of it. And Baz has never been subtle in the least. He puts it on the screen, and tells the story brashly and brazenly. He always has, and I love that about his films. I don't think any other director can do such overwhelming sequences of passionate declarations of love, and they are a wonder to behold. I know they feel hollow to some, but they absolutely work for me.
I thought Leonardo Dicaprio gave an incredible performance. Gatsby is a hard role to approach and get right, and I think he really does. It's not easy to be seen through other people's eyes the entire film. I think the film did contrast him with the rich and selfish characters, but without turning him into something he wasn't. You see him through Nick's POV, and they don't show any actions that set him apart. His motivation does. The small details set him apart.
The rest of the performers are equally engaged with the heightened material. This isn't the real world on display. They make that obvious from the opening frames. The production design is off the charts, the music matches the tones perfectly, and the overall impact is intoxicating, challenging, and potent.
If you like Luhrmann's films, this is a great example. Highly recommended.
Hey buddy...did you just see a real bright light?