The strings are all too visible behind ''Gatsby'
Unfortunately, Lurhmanns depiction of the 1920s is lost among off-putting signs of modernity that sucked me right out of the film. With using such striking visuals and rich colors, the majority of the film is in front of a green screen.
Scenes of Gatsbys huge parties and the lofty views of New York Citys emerging skyline, the color palate and visual is stunning. When the story ultimately dives into its characters, the production devolves into a gimmick.
Characters seem to float in space at times and the false background is painfully obvious.
Also, while the soundtrack works as an album, the inclusion of modern artists such as Shawn "Jay Z" Carter did not work for me. While Luhrmann is known for using contemporary music in his films, such as Romeo + Juliet, the sounds didnt fit the environment.
I wanted more of the lone trumpet player, blaring away on a Manhattan fire escape. I could have used less of an interpretation of the 1920s and more of the 1920s.
Surrounded by the films exuberant production are the films characters, most admirable of whom is DiCaprios Gatsby. He emerges on screen with the same aura and classical charm as Kane.
DiCaprio owns the role as Gatsby, shifting from a wealthy recklessness to youthful charms and striking vulnerability. Never before has the enigmatic Gatsby been portrayed so well on the big screen.
Unfortunately, DiCaprio is surrounded by too many subpar players. Mulligan gives a strong performance as Daisy, but the rest are hindrances. MaGuires narration is a chore to listen to at best and a deplorable nuisance at worst.
Carraways narration is reduced to a lazy writing technique that creates some cracks in the fourth wall adding nothing to the film itself. It seems Lurhmann and fellow screenwriterCraig Pearcecouldnt figure out how to translate Carraways narration to screen and felt they had to justify its presence.
Other than his narration, MaGuire is capable, but simply stands in the shadow of DiCaprios soaring and tragic performance.
Despite its flaws, Gatsby is a valiant attempt at an adaptation. The excesses and kinetic energy of the 1920s are on full display. Lurhmann can create incredible tension and develop a scene with a quiet hand such as the initial meeting between Gatsby and Daisy, or a brewing argument in a Manhattan penthouse.
However, there is less of that deft technique and more of Lurhmann hammering his vision into your senses, while not successfully concealing the hammer.
We all have the images in our head when reading a novel, especially one as vibrant and timeless asGatsby. Lurhmann gives us his vision, and while it didnt match up to my particular tastes, others may disagree.
Regardless, the film proves thatF. Scott Fitzgeraldsnovel is indeed timeless, and will resonate with anyone. However, Lurhmanns vision seems to stand, like Gatsbys dreams, on a house of cards, ready to tumble, revealing the strings behind the soaring production.
The strings were all too visible for me to be truly immersed.