Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby looks and feels like an artistic vision, even if the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic misses a lot of the subtleties of the novel. The acting all around is superb, and holding much of the novel’s original prose lends plenty to the dramatic heft of the film; it’s also one of the film’s faults, due to Carraway’s explanations of everything happening on screen. The film looks glorious, although the 3D grows increasingly burdensome as the film goes along; it doesn’t look bad, it just feels unnecessary. Luhrmann’s works have all dealt with love, fittingly so, because The Great Gatsby is a tragedy of sorts for lovers. I can’t necessarily cite where the film goes wrong, but that’s also not a good thing: it means the film follows too closely to its source material to establish itself as warranted, making me realize that the film pushes forth too much with empty visual flair to establish its own voice. Luhrmann is a talented director, and DiCaprio and Mulligan are perfectly cast. The film looks impeccable, and the design is beautiful. But the whole thing feels too overblown to be great…it’s simply a good adaptation, primarily because the source is great.
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