I tried to have an open mind, I really did. Alas, The Great Gatsby failed to win me over. It wasn't as horrible as I assumed it would be, but was still pretty awful.
Where to start? Well, first I'll just come out and say it. I didn't read the book in school *ducks* and have zero emotional/nostalgia points to draw from. I was somewhat familiar with the plot and central themes of the book because, it's such a icon of American literature I couldn't help but absorb them through osmosis over the years. In other words, I went into The Great Gatsby as neutral party. Well, not entirely neutral. I mean, I have eyes. I saw the trailer, I read the news about the Jay-Z soundtrack. I hoped for the best but expected the worst.
The film is a long and jumbled mess. It's literally all over the place. I described Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers as "...a declaration of war on the senses." Well, with The Great Gatsby, director Baz Luhrmann says fuck the war and drops an atom bomb of CGI/glitter/vibrant colors and brash music on screen. I really don't even know where to begin. Gatsby's character is a mysterious playboy who throws lavish parties so I kind of understand the whole "Baz is just keeping it real and making his movie incredibly over the top" argument. But no. God no. He didn't have to go full on jazz hands either.
|"Did you read the book? Where we supposed to read the book?"|
Lurhman pulls a Tarantino/Wes Anderson move and is so in love with his "unique" directing style, the overall substance of the The Great Gatsby is lost in the process. Romantic scenes result in lifeless posturing because the actors are hamming it up. Just about every character in the film is either unlikeable or worse, uninteresting. The music, holy shit the music. I like Jay-Z, he's a cool guy. His soundtrack however, yanked me out of the film more times than Toby Maguire's Spider-Man-esqe narration. So modern audiences are too stupid to appreciate music from the Jazz Age and it's cultural significance and it's very real relevance to The Great Gatsby's story...but they aren't too stupid to throw tomatoes at the screen for the cringe worthy amounts crappy CGI and "3D" shots in the film? This is why I'm a misanthrope who hates my generation and weeps for the future of humanity.
As much as I enjoyed staring at Carey Mulligan's gorgeous face on the big screen, and Joel Edgerton's standout performance as her douchebag husband, I really cannot recommend this movie to anyone. It wasn't horrible but it was frustrating that such a great story (or so I'm told) was damn near ruined like this. Such grand themes about love and loss, obsession and regrets, social mobility and injustice should have been the highlights of this film but instead we get tacky light saber overload...that's what pisses me off so much.