On Wednesday night I had the opportunity to see The Great Gatsby at an advance screening through Virgin Radio.
I was expecting this Baz Lurhmann directed film to include lots of style with it’s substance, but unfortunately it provided more of the former. That is not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, but it lacked some of the nuanced meaning that the F Scott Fitzgerald novel is known for.
Lurhmann created wonderful sets reminiscent of the novel, my favourite being Myrtle’s apartment, that were lavish and showed the extravagance of the Roaring Twenties. Gatsby’s parties were also elaborate scenes filled with alcohol, dancing, fireworks, and a great soundtrack. Although the film kept close to the classic American novel it didn’t have subtly during the deeper moments. The audience was generally told how to think by Nick Carraway’s narration and reactions without questioning the relationship Carraway with Gatsby and how that affected his opinions.
Although I’m not normally a big Tobey Maguire fan I might have just become one with this film. I loved his portrayal of Nick Carraway, it was powerful when needed to be and noticeable without being the feature performance which was, of course, Leo DiCaprio’s job as Jay Gatsby. DiCaprio immediately showed his embodiment of Gatsby in his introduction as fireworks go off behind him and we got an extended shot of his smile. Carraway was wowed just as we were and the powerful performance continued from there. Gatsby was grand as he filled each scene he was in and enraptured by Daisy every moment after meeting her at brunch. The comedic moment as he broke Carraway’s clock showed his nerves and just how much his picture of her was essential to him.
One of my biggest complaints about Gatsby is the choice to put it in 3D. Instead of helping the film it made some scenes a little blurry and never used the 3D. If there’s an option for 2D I would highly suggest choosing that instead.
Generally I enjoyed the film. It was fun, engaging, and extravagant, but unfortunately I was never completely wowed by the film which is why I’m giving it a 7/10.
The Great Gatsby opens in wide release today, May 10!