I preface this review by saying I have not read ‘The Great Gatsby’, only knowing of how revered this great work of American literature is. From watching Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation I saw glimpses of an impressive narrative, if only underdeveloped characters and plot points could have better communicated it.
The film attempts to portray the exciting life of Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio), told through the experiences of Nick Carraway (Maguire). However the audience is only teased with Gatsby’s intriguing life and inexplicably never indulged. The film puts more priority on gaudy party scenes than creating a rapport with the characters. I did enjoy the visual spectacle of the festivities, especially the use of modern music set against the 1920’s parties, a brave choice that gave the film a fresh edge. However the first half of the film felt bloated with these expendable scenes, almost devoid of any narrative substance. This relegated the second half to characters the audience were not properly acquainted with, and whose actions and ‘romance’ felt arbitrary as a result. The film’s careless execution of characters and plot made it feel undeserving of the source material, depriving the world of a classic film adaptation.
2/5 – Lacking
A film that promises a lot and fulfills very little. By choosing style over substance the viewer is left with many unanswered questions and a frustrated sense of disappointment.