“Great Gatsby” Is Gutsy, Extravagant Brilliance


HOLLYWOOD—Who would have expected the rebirth of the classic 1920s novel The Great Gatsby could be transformed into an iconic piece of art on the big screen?  I know I didn’t, but Baz Luhrmann’s picture “The Great Gatsby” is unbelievably thrilling to watch on the screen.  The music and the scenic backdrop of the picture is enough to get any movie lover in the theater seat.  The fusion of jazz and hip-hop is incredible thanks to a collaborative effort from director Luhrmann and musician Jay-Z, but it’s the actors that steal the show for this picture.

Leonardo DiCaprio shines as Jay Gatsby, a wealthy auteur who throws lavish parties at his house.  He brings such a charm, an intensity and passion to a character that will ignite with the audience.  He may appear perfect on the outside, but this is a guy battling some torturous demons on the inside. While Gatsby is a playboy that could have any girl of his dreams, he’s mesmerized by Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan).

She is a precocious lad whose innocence is not always what it appears to be.  Daisy and Gatsby was once a couple, but their love was torn apart by World War I.  She is now married to the jealous Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), whose penance for vengeance is quite torrid to say the least. The glue to this group of affluent upper class socialites is Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), an up and coming bond broker who happens to be Daisy’s cousin.  He’s amazed by the glitz and the glamour that Gatsby has; even more so the power that comes with it.

Luhrmann wears many hats in this feature film. Not only is he behind the camera, but he also played an active role as producer and screenwriter to the picture.  That may be one of the reasons “The Great Gatsby” will resonate so well with audiences. The storytelling aspect of the script is sharp, poignant and indeed a gripping tale of love gone wrong.

You can have a great director for a picture, but if the script is lackluster, no matter what that director does, it’ll still be a bad movie, but that’s not the case here.  Luhrmann’s ability to fuse the music scene with eye-popping visuals and scenic backdrops of 1920sNew Yorkis a journey for the spectator.  I never felt so emotionally connected to a time period beyond my eons.

Another potent element of the picture is that it’s presented in 3D for the audience to really get an up close presentation of the visuals. “The Great Gatsby” is a tale that all of us at some point in time have come across in the classroom.  I vividly remember my time reading the novel in my freshman year of college, and found it difficult to grasp the concept, but what Lurhmann does with the text is fairly close to the novel, but presents things in a  grand scale that will make even the most avid fan of the novel and those who were not fans believers.

By LaDale Anderson