Baz Lurhmann’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is an explosion of colour, music and sexual tension, bringing to life what I consider to be a story that trails at a snail’s pace.
Behind all the glitz and glamour of Lurhmann’s directorial style, it is his choice of actors that helps to give life to the otherwise lifeless portrayals of Fitzgerald. Leonardo DiCaprio does well in playing the infamous Jay Gatsby, a man both famous and mysterious for his regular mansion parties, whose relationship with Carey Mulligan’s Daisy is made both awkward and increasingly addictive from their first encounter. My admiration of Gatsby’s characterisation increases drastically alongside the rapid fall of Daisy’s likability, a woman who frustratingly glides through life, child-like and immature in her lack of decision making and her want to impact in anyone’s life. DiCaprio’s Gatsby is compelling to watch in his passionate attempts to hold on to the past, whilst Tobey Maguire’s Nick succeeds in continuing to be the quiet onlooker of their lives that I could not stand in the novel.
With films such as Moulin Rouge! and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet already under his belt, Lurhmann’s use of combining the great tracks of Jay-Z and Lana del Rey, alongside colourised black and white footage that was not his own, is typical of his style but amazing visually, highlighting the division of class, gender and race. Finally, I could feel the buzz of the roaring 20’s, increasing the story’s exhilarating atmosphere. Despite all the criticism surrounding his adaptation, I believe that Lurhmann has done well in recreating the excitement, evidently proving that, in some cases, the film can be better than the book.
Article: Charlotte Cole