Like many of us in the American school system I had this story thrust upon me much like a tick in the woods thrusts itself upon its unsuspecting naive victim. I made it two chapters into this dense piece of work by F Scott Fitzgerald before gleefully accepting the C by still being able to answer questions about it by pure BS.
Now…we have Baz Luhrmann’s (Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge)newest project the adaptation of one of the quintessential American classic novels. The trailers promised me music, the roaring 20s in all their gleeful insanity and a sense of wild hope not seen since then and perhaps not again. It is also a broken promise.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the titular character with a near manic level of calm, suave and even desperation that reminds me yet again – he is a terrific actor that is often crucified by people for no real reason. Tobey Maguire is nearly tolerable as our voice and lens for the film Nick Carraway. Joel Edgerton who seems to be the twin of Sam Worthington but with the ability to act, nails the 20s “Man” to a T. The women are largely forgettable and barely tolerable, though that may be what was written more than the failure of the actresses involved.
The film does execute some things beautifully. The make up, the wardrobe the sets are all magnificent representations of the 1921. That is where my compliments must end. The actors were good and those that made the actors their characters were good.
On to the flaws?
If JJ Abrams loves the lens flare, then Baz loves the soft filter. Everything in the movie appears just slightly out of focus on the edges unless you are in a close up. Things are lit too brightly, too off and just a bit too loud that it almost takes away from the beauty of the sets.
Musically the movie is a truly broken promise. I didn’t expect Moulin Rogue with the re imagining of classic songs merged anachronistically into the wild parties of the West Egg. Well…actually I did to a point, however what I got was a few bars here and there of barely audible musical tones that were familiar. It felt to me as if they took anything that wasn’t pure score and rendered it little more than background set dressing that was not memorable and highly forgettable. It is a magnificent sound track that is treated as an after thought. It bothers
Pacing and plot? It runs a full two hours and thirty some odd minutes and feels it. Thats not good. When my friend and I spent the entire credits dissecting the film and that was more enjoyable than the past hour of celluloid, really not a good thing.
Plot wise? Well you know the story and if not, I wont tell you. My reviews are spoiler free. The entire film seems to be a facade trying to cover a broken premise and failed execution. Which if that was intentional I am both confused and impressed as internally the movie demonstrates the Facade of the rich of that time.
Where does that leave my TL;DR crowd?
Baz completists. go see it. 3D once again not necessary, but could be interesting
Fan of the actors? Sure go see it. They all perform admirably.
Anyone else? Give it a pass. You won’t get the music or a happy ending. Find the music in Itunes, youtube, grooveshark, spotify, whatever your pleasure sir.
I do not recommend calling this movie up. Save your money for Star Trek Into Darkness next week.