|Luhrmann takes on Fitzgerald in the fifth film version.|
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Produced by Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, and Catherine Knapman
Written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce (script); F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, and Jason Clarke
Luhrmann returns from Australia with a dazzling interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel. Narrating this tragic tale is Nick Carraway (Maguire), a young, well-to-do man trying to make his own way by selling bonds in New York City. He takes up residence next to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio), who throws lavish parties on the weekends for all of the city's finest to attend (uninvited, of course). As the two men begin to socialize, Gatsby takes Nick into his confidence, and he arranges a meeting with Daisy (Mulligan), Nick's cousin. Unfortunately, this threesome brings the attentions of others, notably her husband Tom (Edgerton). The clash of these old and new relationships leads to a catastrophic conclusion to this classic story of miserable, wealthy people.
While the film doesn't quite reach the elevated heights of its source material, Luhrmann does provide interesting visuals and musical choices. Moreover, the energy and sheer opulence of the production fluctuates, with the driving force being the performances of these iconic characters. Everything comes together as best as it can, but the film can't turn the rich passages of Fitzgerald's prose into a similar success. It's still a solid effort, though. DiCaprio sustains Gatsby's enigmatic persona, while layering him with subtle flourishes of his character's torment. Maguire gives Nick the perceptiveness and openness that form his character. Of course, Mulligan has a difficult task in bringing Daisy's sing-song voice and playful mannerisms to life, which she does effectively. Edgerton is also worth mentioning, giving Tom strength and dim-wittedness in an impressive accent. The sets and costumes are grand, the music is bold, and the performances are admirable all round. Essentially, the film is a worthy version of the novel, even if it's not in the same league as the revered classic.
Oscar Potential: Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song ("Young and Beautiful"), Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing