Favourite Film // The (really, literally) Great Gatsby

July 27, 2013

The witty eloquent words of Mr Fitzgerald + the extravagant old mate Baz.  Bound to be a big hit right?  

Before I went to watch this film, I had read the horrible horrible reviews the movie had received from so-called critics (yes, even Margaret Pomeranz & Dave Stratton didn't rate it too high!) and felt so deflated.  I had really been looking forward to this movie since the day SMH reported the genius collaboration!

Ok - so I took my husband and a few friends to watch this movie a few weeks after the opening and none of them were neither a Fitzgerald or Luhrmann fan like I was.  HUGE mistake because they all ended up snoring in different parts of the movie! I on the other hand, was completely captivated by it from beginning to end (although will admit it was just a tad too long - over 2 hours).  The flamboyant costumes, the theatrical set design, the overly dramatic scenes, the charming characters and the insanely good soundtrack - they all got me super excited in my not-very-comfortable seat. 

The movie is set in the 1920's.  New York City is the only place to be; the joint is jumping and everywhere you look you'll see fast cars, new money, easy virtues and LOTS of irresponsible partying.  The film is narrated by Nick Carraway (Tobey Macguire) who retells the story of how he came to meet his wealthy mysterious neighbour Jay Gatsby (who conveniently throws stupendously large fanciful parties at his bachelor pad every week), and how he became deeply entangled in his chivalrous quest to win the love of his life back - Daisy, who is (also) conveniently Carraway's estranged cousin.  

Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby is perfect fit.  He is certainly the best cinematic Gatsby to date and is ever so charming that I might even forgive him for his ridiculous constant refrain of the phrase "old sport" that Gatsby is so famously known for.  He anchors the film's mix of the half-hearted and the delirious in a character that fits both worlds - a man convincingly torn to live a prosperous future but is driven entirely by a vision of the past.  The gorgeous pixy-esque Carey Mulligan played the vain and airy Daisy so convincingly and she looks breathtakingly beautiful in all costumes (costume design done by Baz's clever wife Catherine Martin).  All our best Aussie exports didn't disappoint either - Edgerton as the thuggish sports-maniac Tom Buchanan, Isla Fisher as the seductive overbearing Mrs Wilson and even "old sport" Vince Colossimo scored a 50 second role - ha!  What about Tobey Macguire as Carraway, you ask me?  What about the leading guy?  His presence is completely lost and easily forgotten amongst the other stellar performances but let's not blame the other guys too much.  Macguire simply had no emotion; lifeless and well, boring.  It felt like I was watching geeky Spiderman transport his motionless self into the 1920's!  

The film is fast paced, entertaining, flashy and transports you into what would've been such an exciting era.  I'm not going to tell you anything more though but I will tell you that I was completely "Baz-zled".  Two thumbs up for me!  Go see it if you haven't already done so (only limited cinemas now).  Those of who you have seen it, what did you think of it?  

Also - click here to watch an interview with Baz himself on the 7.30 Report - love this talented filmmaker! 

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