Yes, I’ve been dreading writing this review as much as you all dreaded reading this review. I adored F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby and when I heard Leonardo DiCaprio was playing the lead role, I was suitably impressed. Then I heard Baz Luhrmann was directing it, and my expectations went way down, yet I kept an open mind.
I can now officially say Baz Luhrmann was topped himself – he has created one of the worst adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen. “But surely there are worse” I hear you say – yes, there are worse. But what Luhrmann did was he took a book about the American Dream, greed and the human condition and made it a damn romantic drama! This irritated me supremely because yes, the whole crux of the book is Gatsby’s love for Daisy, but the romantic element is minimal in the book, whereas in the film, it is one of the top themes.
But I am reviewing this as a FILM, not as an adaptation (because if this was a review as an adaptation, it would be lucky to get 10%). The opening scene was beautiful. Then the next ten minutes were too fast paced and frantic to be able to pay attention to and understand what is going on. It played like a really bad surrealist romantic comedy. Then there was the parties…I understand Luhrmann’s reasoning for using hip-hop as a musical theme, but damn did it fail miserably. It just didn’t fit it at all, and it just looked like a poorly executed student film.
The sets were beautiful, and they were the only faithful thing to the book. My biggest problem was the tone of the film. Luhrmann’s tone is completely off from the tone of the book. I view The Great Gatsby as the ultimate tragedy – greed, human evil and betrayal. It is modern Shakespeare. Luhrmann made a really bad romantic comedy set in the 1920s (although it just looks like an elaborate costume party thrown by a fraternity in a university).
This film was not even close to the book in the fact that the characters were miscast, the tone of the film was completely off (the book has a really gritty, dark tone to it) and the story was drowned in Luhrmann’s decision to make this film a romantic film. I do think that Luhrmann sees very little in his audience, because he makes this film as bright and flamboyant as possible to distract from the fact that he can hardly tell the majestic story of The Great Gatsby
For now, this is definitely on the list of the worst films of 2013…The Crappy Gatsby more like