Contributing culture editor Olivia Kantor shares her latest cinematic experience.
“The Great Gatsby” (2013)
A little party never killed anyone – oh wait…
The Charleston pounds and pulsates against a backdrop of dubstep and crooning pop music.Welcome to a jazz era mixed with thumping beats, foaming bottles of champagne and copious amount of glitter. At the center of this era of swing and swishing hemlines is not only Jay Gatsby, but director Baz Luhrman’s Jay Gatsby. A brooding and dreamy Leonardo DiCaprio, decked out in a dashing suit, staring into that hypnotic green light.
You know the story: It follows Nick Carraway, played by a wide-eyed Toby Maguire, and his experience with his mysterious neighbor Gatsby. It’s the classic tale of the corrupted American dream and the perils of trying to replicate the past
Popular sentiment has held that Gatsby is not fit for film. The 1925 novel, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has often experienced heavy-handed transfers to the stage and screen. Its been argued that true artistry and lasting power of the Gatsby come from its prose and language. The absence of Fitzgerald’s words makes most adaptions seem shallow and incomplete on screen. For many, Fitzgerald’s iconic masterpiece is best shown in black ink on a white page.
If you’re hoping for a historic period adaption of the great American novel, this is not the Gatsby for you. Luhrman has a reputation for being wonderfully sacrilegious. His version of Romeo and Juliet (also staring DiCaprio) was more acid-trip circa 1980s Miami than Elizabethan tragedy. His inventiveness and artistic vision turns Fitzgerald’s novel into a visional spectacle. While he sticks to the novel scene by scene, splashes famous lines across the screen, and allows Nick Caraway’s inner monologues to narrate the action, Luhrman does it in a gaudy, operatic style.
“Is all this made entirely from your own imagination?” Daisy Buchanan, played by the ethereal Carey Mulligan, asks Gatsby. In the case of Gatsby, and even direction Baz Luhrman, the answer is yes.
Director: Baz Luhrman
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton
Release Date: May 10