Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Great Gatsby (2013)

IMDb plot summary: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton.

Well, this is Baz Luhrmann doing what Baz Luhrmann does best: making everything look AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, this movie is gorgeous. Is it an extremely melodramatic take on the story? Yes. Is the dialogue delivered in an oddly stilted manner from time to time? Yes. But it doesn't matter, just like it didn't matter in Moulin Rouge! or Australia or Romeo + Juliet or Strictly Ballroom, because the look of the film comes first and foremost. Plus, Luhrmann has pretty solid original material for this, and the story is a good one no matter what.

On an acting level, everyone does a pretty good job. I was unexpectedly impressed with Tobey Maguire as Nick. This is a good role for him. It lets him play a character as reserved and uncertain as he always looks. DiCaprio and Mulligan, on the other hand, were oddly uninteresting, when I'm usually very drawn to both of them.

In the end, though, as much as I can discuss story and acting, it does come down to the visuals for me. Because, just like with Moulin Rouge! (which I can cheerfully admit is NOT a good movie as a whole, despite being one of my all-time top 5) it paints this huge picture with images, communicating big, epic, abstract ideas beautifully and keeping me glued to the screen. Anything that looks this gorgeous is worth the watch. 4 stars.

Flickchart: #340 out of 1989, below Cats and above Sense and Sensibility.

Rent it in HD on Amazon for $4.99.

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