When Too Much is Just Right

Hello, old friends. It’s been a while. My reviews have clearly been on hiatus, but honestly, there haven’t been many films worth reviewing. Until NOW. The Great Gatsby. The movie we’ve all been waiting for…or, well, all English majors have been waiting for. And I can truthfully and emphatically attest: it was worth the wait.

Carey Mulligan's accent was spot-on. The Brits do it again!

Carey Mulligan’s accent was spot-on. The Brits do it again!

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the director, Baz Luhrmann. He’s put forth a number of interesting projects including Romeo + Juliet (you know, the one with little Leo and Claire Danes – and Michael from Lost as a drag queen). And of course there’s Moulin Rouge, a film I always found sour. It’s just TOO much. Too much color, too much dazzle, too much can-can. But that’s Luhrmann in a nutshell. He strives for excess. He exhausts your senses. He does no less in Gatsby. However, for a story like Gatsby, one set in an excessive era and filled with excessive people, a story that ultimately condemns both – well, Luhrmann found his masterpiece.

It’s almost my bedtime, so I have to make this brief, but Leonard DiCaprio shined, both literally and figuratively. He exceeded all expectations I set for Gatsby, and for the first time, the character actually lived on screen (sorry Robert Redford). Carey Mulligan was equally charming, forcing the audience to sympathize with her Daisy, a feat not easily achieved. Tobey Maguire was good, but I could only see Spiderman, so perhaps not quite as effective.

As for Jay-Z’s ensemble of tunes, it worked for me. The music is as anachronistic as one would expect from a Luhrmann film, a blend of Lana del Ray, Andre 3000, and Florence Welch. A match for the glitz-and-glamour visuals.

This movie will be polarizing, there’s no doubt about that, but for the first time in my life, I’m on Luhrmann’s side. If you’re a Fitzgerald purist, perhaps skip this time around, but if you’re in for a spectacle, grab those 3D glasses and hold on.

For The Great Gatsby, I’d pay a total of $9. That’s the average price of a suburban movie ticket!

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4 thoughts on “When Too Much is Just Right

  1. Thanks for the review. I was on the fence about this one, i haven’t liked any of Lehrman’s films especially Moulin Rouge. Can I tell you a little secret? I haven’t read the Great Gatsby so I am anxious to see what all the fuss is about.

  2. ok so I saw the movie and while I agree with you on the actor’s performances I gotta tell you that I didn’t like the movie. the filmwork made it look cartoonish to me and the 3D was just in the way. It would have been as opulent and over the top without the 3D. I was worried that I wouldn’t like the music based on the trailer but I gotta tell I didn’t even notice it. This movie has me wondering if I should finally read the book that way I can tell what fitzgerald really meant to say.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Laurie! You brought up an excellent point that I forgot to raise in my post – the 3D doesn’t work for the film. Like you said, the movie is opulent as is, and by upping the intensity with 3D, the film gives you a massive headache!

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