“Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past….”
Buckle up for a lavish and stylish new big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s much-loved novel from Baz ‘Moulin Rouge’ Luhrmann.
Meet wide-eyed Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who finds himself lured into the decadently over the top world of his glamorous and mysterious neighbour Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).
The tale is told from Carraway’s recollections about his time spent in the heady summer of 1922, when he catches up with his beautiful cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton).
Daisy turns out to have had a romantic attachment to enigmatic Gatsby and Carraway finds himself being befriended by the smooth, confident millionaire who wants to win back Daisy’s heart.
But this isn’t your standard love story drama – there is an inherent danger lurking under the surface here and there will certainly be tragedy as well as romance before the credits roll.
Everything looks incredible – the screen sizzles with a sheen of pizzazz the like of which has not been seen before.
The cars are shiny powerhouses, the men dandy super-manicured icons and the woman are gorgeous foxes across the board. Luhrmann updates the original jazz soundtrack with hip-hop thanks to producer Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter and the more contemporary vibe works well.
The supporting roles of Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki), George Wilson (Jason Clarke) and his saucy wife, Myrtle (Isla Fisher) all do their parts well and drive the plot along.
So is this Gatsby a roaring success?
Well, yes and no – on the plus side it’s a visually lush cinematic experience and the performance of DiCaprio stands out as one of his best ever.
Mulligan is gorgeous and brings plenty of va va voom to the role of Daisy. And as I said, the music and overall style is superb.
Less good is the unnecessary 3D, which adds nothing but extra price to the cinema ticket.
There is also an overall feeling of shallowness that prevents you ever getting quite as emotionally involved in the drama as might have made this a classic.
So maybe not a great Gatsby, but perhaps a cool Gatsby which is still checking out!