Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Thursday, 09 May 2013 23:00

The ‘great’ Gatsby”? Not so great as misunderstood

The ‘great’ Gatsby”? Not so great as misunderstood welivefilm.com
Written by Martha K. Baker
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Baz Luhrmann
  • Dates: Opened May 10, 2013

What filmmakers have never understood is that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is not about the parties. Their hands get all sweaty at the idea of filming those grand, balloon-filled ballrooms. The Great Gatsby is a classic because it’s not just a backdrop brought forward, not just about showering shirts down from a magnificent closet.

So when filmmakers assert in an opening credit that their version of “The Great Gatsby” is an adaptation, they usually mean “ego trip.” Such is the sad case with the current version, directed by Australian Baz Luhrmann. Luhrmann souped it up with a 3rd dimension, here totally unnecessary, but once he gets done with the pyrotechnic party scenes and the screaming-yellow Duesenberg, he plods through the rest of the story (granted, it’s not Fitzgerald’s nimblest wordsmithing to start with).

Jay Gatsby lives in a grand mansion. Rumors swirl that he is a murderer or, maybe, a gambler. He throws parties every weekend to which guests just appear to sponge up the booze and ambience. Only one man gets an invitation: writer Nick Carraway, the poor, hapless, young, Midwestern veteran living in the carriage house near by. Nick is Daisy’s cousin, a conduit.The Great Gatsby is Nick’s story, told here as therapy later in 1924 from a sanitarium. Nick falls half in love with Gatsby, the single most optimistic person he’s ever met. Gatsby’s optimistic because he sure he can win back the heart and mind of Daisy Buchanan. She’d loved him, but she gave him up for a man with money, so Gatsby set out to make money.

Leonard diCaprio does a yeoman’s work as the rich man, but he is not fluid. Tobey Maguire never catches hold of Nick, playing him more as nebbish than as innocent. Only at the end does Carey Mulligan understand that Daisy is a careless render of hearts and souls. Joel Edgerton gives the right angle to Tom Buchanan, and Jason Clarke is good as the cuckolded Wilson with Isla Fisher playing his wife and Tom’s declasse mistress, Myrtle. Edgerton and Clarke also menaced in “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Luhrmann wrote the screenplay with Craig Pearce -- they also shared credits for “Moulin Rouge!” and “Strictly Ballroom.” Luhrmann lit Nick’s cottage as if he were Thomas Kinkead in the colors of old post cards. The Valley of the Ashes is there, the eye doctor’s symbolic billboard is there. Luhrmann even has Nick’s writing appear on the screen graphically. But for all the filmic gymnastics, Luhrmann just doesn’t get it. His 160-minute “Gatsby” is more doozy than Duesenberg, all style with laborious substance. 

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


February
Monday
02

Fringe Third Annual Quick Draw - Artist networking and lottery drawing

This event marks the final step of the selection process for shows in the 2015 St. Lou Fringe Festival … but more importantly, it is a one-of-a-kind inside look at the city’s bravest, most creative performing passion...


February
Friday
06

Leo Kottke

KDHX welcomes Leo Kottke to The Sheldon on Friday, February 6th at 8 PM. Folk guitarist Leo Kottke is known for his innovative 12-string technique, and intimate performance style.


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

10 users and 10846 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook