‘The Great Gatsby’ isn’t the greatest

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, the Great Gatsby is revolves around the unraveling love between the two main characters.

by Sumner Strickland| staff writer

For those who anticipated Gatsby as much as I did, I have troubling news. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is a flat, lifeless exercise in art direction, nothing more.

The book, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is easily one of the greatest American novels ever written, and it’s hard to explain the plot without telling you the whole story. Mainly because it’s a character driven novel with no real concrete plot. All you need to know is Nick (Tobey Maguire) is the main character who moves into a new house that’s right next to Gatsby’s (Leonardo Dicaprio) and right across the river from his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton) cheats on her quite frequently with a woman named Myrtle (Ilsa Fisher). But Gatsby wants something from Nick. What could that be?

The honest truth is I didn’t hate the movie, I was just very disappointed. Baz Luhrmann seems to  make a conscious decision to destroy a classic. We get that Baz Luhrmann doesn’t believe in keeping with one time period as far as music is concerned (Moulin Rouge Smells like teen spirit scene) but, at some point you’ve got to cut the cord. Jay-Z in an F. Scott Fitzgerald classic? Come on that isn’t unique, that isn’t new, it’s just ludicrously wrong and should’ve never been ok’d. I’m fine with music choices like that in moderation, but literally every other scene it’s Andre 3000 or Jack White or Beyonce. It just took me out of the environment and made me enjoy it less.  But the thing that really took a toll on me was the acting. It was all over the top, Tobey Maguire was lukewarm at best. Even Carey Mulligan was disappointing and I’m a huge fan of “An Education and Drive” but her performance was just mediocre. But, Dicaprio was the films one saving grace. While everyone else was listening to Baz Luhrmann’s advice to overdo every single action, DiCaprio made a real character who you rooted for and cared about. Leonardo Dicaprio is easily one of the best working actors around today, and this display proved that he’s only good in everything that he does. Even under the un guiding wing Luhrmann DiCaprio still pulled out an impressive performance.

Aside from all the negatives, the movie does have some very impressive art direction and will probably get recognized for that at the oscars, but nothing more.

No matter how much I enjoy DiCaprio, this movie is a hollow shell when compared to the book and hopefully in time the true Great Gatsby adaptation will come. For now though we are stuck with what’s hopefully Baz Luhrmann’s final movie.

★★ out of ★★★★

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