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An intriguing story re-told again with attention to mystery. 8/10
naregian8 May 2013

I know a lot of the other reviewers will compare this film to the older one and also the book, so if you're interested in a comparison, stop reading here. I want to review this film as a movie that tells a story, like every other film. I don't want to review this as a film that tried to beat its preceding film adaptation.

I myself have read the book and have always been so intrigued with the character of Gatsby, and when I heard a few years back that he would be portrayed on the big screen by DiCaprio, I couldn't wait. The character carries such a mystery about him that was delivered so excellently by Leonardo DiCaprio, and made it so fun to watch. It was almost like I didn't know what the ending was because I was so immersed in 1920s New York, and in the lifestyle of The Great Gatsby.

The film itself, as a film, was awesome! The visuals and soundtrack were captivating and lavish. The acting was great overall, as you can trust these actors to deliver.

I read somewhere on IMDb (message board or another reviewer, I can't remember) that Leonardo wasn't a good fit for the role of Gatsby. I think this statement couldn't be more wrong. If you have read the book, you must have some idea about the depth of Gatsby's character, the depth of his mind, his desires. The false smiles, the phony handshakes, the uneasiness in being in public, the way Jay Gatsby conducts himself in front of Daisy, and in pursuit of her. All these things are delivered so well by DiCaprio. His nerve, his frustration, his determination...all so eloquently portrayed. But most of all, his passion, and as Nick Carraway, our narrator so emphatically reminds us, his hope. The character development of Jay Gatsby, and the development of all those surrounding him gives us such a deep look at the relationships of such a diverse category of people.

The storyline is obviously interesting: A man realizes his new neighbor is a mysterious, and incredibly wealthy man. Like how awesome is that? Throughout the whole film, as the relationships between all the few main characters become deeper and deeper, and the questions become answered, you just can't help but feel so into the characters' lives. Great writing for the characters, great directing, great great great acting.

Overall, this is just a great film. If you go into the theater thinking "oh this'll suck compared to Robert Redford" or "I bet the book is way better", you're setting yourself up for a bad 143 minutes. Don't be so close minded and try to view it as just another film that tells a fictional story, and a great one at that.
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Visually and emotionally lush with a great cast
olyahannah10 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Baz Luhrmann really has outdone himself in this film. The cast is beautiful as is the script. The scenes are a visual feast. It is as if Luhrmann reached into Fitzgerald's vision of the 20's, pulled out the heart of it and merged it with what society is today, over nine decades later. Alongside personal strife, we see social inequality, abuse of drugs and alcohol, political and moral corruption, and the failure of financial institutions and their responsibility to people. This film will make you feel that these issues will always be relevant, and that not much changes from generation to generation.

The achingly romantic and hopeful Gatsby is played impeccably by DiCaprio. He has aged into a beautiful man while still possessing those boyish good looks. The beginning of the film has the viewer itching to see Gatsby and hear him speak, and when he finally appears he holds on and captivates throughout the film. The film may awaken something in you, a memory of when you were crazy in love with a person or in love with an idea for what your life should be. DiCaprio embodies a dream and makes you root for him, even though he is shown to be a liar and a man who is desperately trying to steal another's wife- all that does not matter because we see the gentle child-like frailty in him and identify with it. DiCaprio is an excellent actor and was perfect for the role.

I must say that I didn't think that Mulligan can pull the role of Daisy, who in my mind was supposed to be a flawless beauty. However, she didn't disappoint. It made Gatsby's love and desire for her even more fascinating- she was beautiful to him and that's all that mattered. Mulligan was able to play the spoiled and dazed rich girl well, while adding an emotional dimension to the character. Tobey Mcguire definitely held his own, and his story line had an interesting deviation from the novel which was enjoyable. All in all I think it is a must see this year for movie buffs.
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Nothing exceeds like excess
copyright90814 May 2013
THE GREAT GATSBY There is no movie I have been more prepared to dislike than this one. How dare some Aussie come over here and tell us about the meaning of one of the great works of American literature. Especially this Aussie, Baz Luhrmann, who is known to overload, over-hype and overcook his theatrical product into a glittery miasma of small meaning and little consequence. (i.e. Moulin Rouge)

But I was wrong.

Jay Gatsby has achieved success in a fashion beyond most imaginations, excepting his own. In true Horatio Alger tradition he has worked hard to improve himself, but when his past creeps up on him and threatens his well crafted self image, he suavely and effortlessly changes it, his past, and he inhabits the change until it becomes the reality. He is the self made American man in every way. He is the American success myth both personified and perverted.

Unlike Alger's heroes, he has not followed the straight and narrow. He has acquired his fabulous wealth through bootlegging and stock swindles.

This belief, that he can change his past, to correct it as it were, has given him a veneer of respectability that has put him in good stead with his underworld connections. But it is not for them that Gatsby has made this remarkable metamorphosis. No, he did everything, and I mean everything, for the love of a woman.

Daisy was Gatsby's great love, but he lost her, and now in one final herculean effort he is going to correct his past this one last time. He is going to win her back and make things as they should have been.

Leo DeCaprio is the only actor of this generation that could play Gatsby, just as Robert Redford could only play Gatsby the previous generation. Redford's Gatsby seemed reticent and insecure about his past; regretful that he must live a lie in order to accomplish his goal. DeCaprio's Gatsby is forceful, decisive; he is a determined man of significant accomplishment and great ability. He has a plan and he is going to execute it and as far as he is concerned, for all the right reasons. For myself, it is DeCaprio's best and most powerful performance.

This decision (both DeCaprio's and Luhrmann's) to take Gatsby down from some ethereal literary icon into a flesh and blood human being gives the movie an intensity that the 1974 version and most of the literary criticism of the book that I have ever read, never perceived. This is not a shining white knight rescuing a damsel in distress; this is a bare knuckles brawl for the hand of Daisy, and she is going to have to choose.

Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) is Gatsby's antagonist. He and Daisy were married when Daisy could no longer wait for Gatsby to prove himself worthy of her. Tom is as rich, maybe even richer than Gatsby, but his money is old, he is an aristocrat with a deep sense of entitlement. He has status and wealth because he's supposed to have status and wealth, and he's not about to give up all that, and certainly not his wife, to this new money usurper Gatsby, without a fight.

Bruce Dern played Tom as a kind of loopy (Dern's specialty) racial conspiracy nut, but Edgerton gives Tom a much harder edge. When Tom espouses his vile racial philosophies one might think that someday he might actually do something about it.

Daisy (Carey Mulligan) is a tough role. For all the time that Gatsby spends trying to prove he is good enough for Daisy, the audience, for the book or the film, is led down the path that she is not good enough for him. Mia Farrow played Daisy as an airhead and a dingbat, but Mulligan gives Daisy a bit more spine, and fashions a character that has a pretty good idea where her self-interests lay.

Luhrmann and co-writer Craig Pearse stay pretty close to the text with a few additions and devices, most notably, to those of us who read the book, know that it is Nick Caraway (Tobey Maguire) who tells the story, and is a firsthand witness to all the events, but we never knew from where he tells the story. Luhrmann tells us it is from a sanitarium where Nick is drying out from excessive alcoholism.

As for Luhrmann's reputation for excess: Well, he certainly visualizes Gatsby's parties as excess, but they are supposed to be excessive, excessive materialism is part of the point of the story. There are times when Luhrmann can't resist himself and feels the compulsion to punctuate matters with some visual flourish, but I did not find it too distracting. His decision to go 3D however, I think was wise. The characters seem to come out of the screen and get next to you. You get to know them personally, and after all this is a very personal story.

I think this story has survived the test of time so well because it is basically a love story. Whatever the viewers or readers opinion of the characters are, Gatsby and Daisy do love each other, but Fitzgerald was not interested in boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl and they all live happily ever after. Where Fitzgerald reached his own aspiration of creating high art is in wondering if living happily ever after is even possible in an age of class consciousness, even class warfare, that is driven by a compulsive materialism in a world changing so fast that we can't even formulate the question before we have to come up with an answer. Luhrmann stays true to these themes and displays an avid curiosity about them himself.

What he has created is a work of art that stands very well on its own.

check out
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Stop being pretentious and enjoy a decent film.
nurkeverly10 May 2013
After seeing this film I was more than a little disgusted to see so many negative reviews. The main problem with this film I find is in the first 20-30 minutes, a common problem I spy in Luhrman films that should by no means define an entire film. Giving away nothing the film begins at a brisk and overly flamboyant pace but after a bit it hits what I like to call "Baz's golden point", slows to absolute perfection. That first half hour will leave more than a few shaking their heads, but power through it and you will find The Great Gatsby in all its glory. Luhrman stays as true to the source as he can and Dicaprio gives yet another glorious performance. If I'm going to be honest I think a lot of the negative reviews coming in are due to the "classic" status of the book, people want to act like the hours of school discussions should make this film less fanciful and serious 100 percent of the time. Thing is we have that version twice over in the 1974 & 2000 adaption. Gatsby 2013 is beautiful, over the top, heart wrenching, and thoroughly enjoyable flick that I shall always highly recommend.
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"The Great Gatsby" Review
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," is fairly accurate to the classic novel and keeps most of its themes intact. However, Luhrmann's own flair adds a new dimension to the story. Visually this film is incredibly stunning. From grand sets to the detailed period dresses, this film is a treat for the eyes. Never once does it not take your breath away from its impressive scenery. Many people might be worried about the updated music, but there is nothing to fear. Jay-Z's track works incredible well with the film and complements the era in which it is set.

The direction in this film is impeccable. The cinematography is marvelous and really lets the viewer absorb the sheer artistry that has gone into making this film. Luhrmann keeps a high level of energy throughout the film and the party sequences are choreographed and edited in a way that it makes you feel envious of not being apart of it. Editing in the film is seamless and really keeps the viewer engaged. A common criticism the film receives is that it is more style than substance, however, I must disagree. This modern interpretation doesn't forget its themes and morals from the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald tale.

Performances are phenomenal by the entire cast. Carey Mulligan's Daisy is every bit as careless as one would expect, but she also manages to show some complexity in her role. Tobey Maguire is a great avatar for us to take on as we enter this film. He is very much the viewer as he sees everything happening, but is ultimately helpless to change anything. The true standouts in the film are Joel Edgerton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Edgerton as Tom Buchanan brings a lot of personality to his character that I thought was absent in the book. He's a bit more tender and more vulnerable, especially when he finds out his wife's secret. The true award recognition worthy performance comes from DiCaprio's Gatsby. He hones on being a respectable, but idealistically insane man. His performance is not only compelling, but also charming and quit hopeful. He truly deserves some recognition come Oscar season.

Overall, "The Great Gatsby" is a fantastically entertaining and enthralling film. It is horribly underrated as it is filled with awards worthy visuals, sets, costumes, direction, and performances. It is a great time at the movies for anyone that enjoys the classic novel or who haven't even heard of it. Not only is this film dramatically satisfying, but also quite humorous and a spectacle like no other. I give it 4.5/5, a great adaptation of one of the greatest novels ever written.
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Loved it!
laura-alter2216 May 2013
For the record, I've read Gatsby at least every other year since I was 17, so, believe me when I say I have been counting down the days and minutes until the new movie opened.

Here it goes then, I saw Gatsby last night and......absolutely loved it! In retrospect (as in halfway through the movie), it just clicked, Leonardo was perfect. He wasn't Redford, but in my humble opinion, better! He nailed it, portraying Gatsby as this truly multi-dimensional character. At first, we're introduced to Gatsby, the well-rehearsed old sport telling his canned story about studying at Oxford, Montenegro medals, etc. etc., but then slowly that forced veneer peels away, and he gives us this angsty, desperate, so-happy-in-love, we can remake the past, tortured soul. Much, much better than Redford. And, the same goes with Daisy. Mia Farrow's Daisy was all flighty and light as a feather, pretty pathetic and self-absorbed, you wonder, what's the big deal with this woman who everyone loves....but with Carey Mulligan, you get it. The scenes of the two of them as young lovers explain it all. Finally, Tobey McGuire....I love him as Peter Parker, Homer Wells and now Nick Carraway. I thought the idea of having him author Gatsby from a hospital was very clever, allowed him to read long passages directly from the book. As for Jay-Z et al., I really didn't mind it, as far as I was concerned, it didn't distract and certainly worked to illuminate the frenetic energy of the 20's. Please, give it another try, see it again. From my experience, a Baz Luhrmann movie is always better the second time around (Moulin Rogue).
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I did not entirely hate it
Bart_OP11 May 2013
What I thought worked in Luhrmann's Gatsby:

I thought DiCaprio was a better Gatsby than Robert Redford (Redford was too old and underplayed the character). I thought DiCaprio understood a complex character and was adequately convincing.

I Love Carey Mulligan and thought she was mostly convincing as Daisy.

I liked it when the story stuck to Fitzgerald - which was about 75% of the time. (having just read the book again in the last 6 months, I recognized most of the Dialogue as true to the book)

I thought the Costume Design was exquisite. Catherine Martin has done costume work for all of Baz Luhrmann's films and won an academy award for costumes in Moulin Rouge!(as well as being nominated for Romeo + Juliet and Australia. Her work is again superior here - one of the real strengths of the film...

I thought the 2nd half of the movie was much better than the 1st. While I generally did not like the soundtrack I loved that Gershwin's' Rhapsody in Blue' snuck in there in the first scenes in Manhattan.

The "Valley of Ashes" and the "Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, Occulist" sign are really well done - but sadly, the scenes there are so rushed and so downplayed as to prevent that location from being the symbol of death Fitzgerald intended it to be...

The scene in Nick's house where Daisy is invited to tea and re-meets Gatsby.

What I did not like about it:

Every scene with Tobey Maguire in it. His Nick Carraway is too much of Gatsby's lapdog. He is too wide-eyed throughout the story. By the end of the movie I was praying for George Wilson to shoot him.

Luhrmann's story telling device (Nick Carraway in a Sanitarium telling the story to a Doctor who encourages him to write it) - Really Baz Luhrman, you're gonna improve on Fitzgerald?

Luhrmann's other story telling device: the words on the screen. Yuck!

The Art-direction. Everything was too over-the-top and garish. Gatsby's house looks like a Disney creation. One might argue that this is okay because the new-rich are often garish. But part of the character that Fitzgerald wrote was that he was convincing as a monied man.

The sound-track of the 1st half of the movie. Typically Luhrmann; and I have loved it in other contexts. It did not work in Gatsby. After the last party scene, the soundtrack was much better and the rest of the movie felt like Fitzgerald to me.

BTW - I generally am a fan of Baz Luhrmann's work. I loved Romeo + Juliet while it was being panned by professional critics. And I found Moulin Rouge! delightful..

Moet Champaign (which apparently bought huge stock in this movie)

Joel Edgerton ('nuff said)

The over-the-top garishness of the production is so distracting that the great social themes of the day are almost completely lost. They are so subtle int he book and they must be subtly depicted in cinema. They are so subtle as to be almost entirely lost in this production. When I first read the book I felt such sympathy for almost every character (except Tom Buchanan). I did not really care about the characters in this movie at all.

That Damn green light - much too much. It is a powerful but subtle symbol in the book. Let a symbol be a symbol without having to constantly refer to it and without hitting your audience over the head with it.

Because I did not think it entirely sucked, I will give it a 5. Adolescent girls will disagree with me (even as they are failing their Gatsby finals because they based it this mediocre retelling of the story). Fitzgerald and Gatsby fans will think I am being too generous

Note to Hollywood - If you are going to make a movie based on a great work of literature, respect and humbly submit to that greatness, and make a movie worthy of the original.
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Famous scenes and symbolism re-imagined beautifully but also problematically
napierslogs11 May 2013
"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. 'Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.'" I have been frequently convinced that Baz Luhrmann does not know how to read, but I do have the advantage of literacy. However, I am not Nick Carraway and am not compelled to follow his father's advice that opens Fitzgerald's classic novel "The Great Gatsby".

The first big problem with this movie version is that Tobey Maguire's Nick is not the same Nick that we know and love from the novel. This Nick is a quirky, agitated simpleton who has gone insane and has decided to become a writer. His voice and disposition was all wrong. Nick is no longer our credible vantage point into the selfish, boorish ways of the old money and new money of Daisy, Tom, Jordan and Gatsby in East Egg and West Egg.

Much has been said about the lavish style of the film's sets and imagery and even more about the ludicrous soundtrack. But it mostly works. I don't think anyone can deny that the unrestrained money, extravagant mansions, brilliant costumes and choreography with a lively score just make the whole story seem more fun.

I still have no idea what the point of the 3D was. Nick's bow-tie and the strange shooting style (mostly prominent early on) just made everything look cartoonish. At times, it looked like they were driving Gatsby's yellow car through the set of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". The cartoon- stylings mostly affected Nick; Gatsby's parties are always supposed to be at least slightly surreal.

Problems definitely arise in the beginning when Luhrmann chooses to use his typical flash editing and put some party scenes out of order. The randomness of it all and Nick becoming even farther removed from the narrator we once trusted, was only re-confirming that this was in fact the disaster many expected it to be.

But then we met Gatsby. And more importantly, we met Daisy. And even more importantly, Gatsby met Daisy. It is literally impossible to live up to the expectations about Gatsby – both the man built on wild whispers of him being a war hero, but also the literary character so ingrained in popular culture that he has earned the adjective "great" in front of his name. Leonardo DiCaprio does as good a job as anyone could reasonably expect of him. He drew me in, and since Nick couldn't do that, it was even more than I could ask of him.

One of the significant themes glowing throughout the novel is that of hope. Luhrmann even recognizes this with Nick referring to Gatsby as the singularly most hopeful man he has ever met. And then we would get a shot of the green light glistening off the water and through the fog from the end of Daisy's dock. The one thing missing from DiCaprio's interpretation of Gatsby was that earnest hope. I felt like a photographer on a model shoot: "Now give me a look of hope! No, that's anger. Give me hope! No, that's sadness. Give me hope! No, that's frustration. Fine, just give me another look of despair."

Gatsby yearned for Daisy. And so do we. Carey Mulligan's Daisy was probably the most accurate character re-imagined from the novel. Starting from her introductory scene where she lay on the couch and the wind rustled her white curtains and her diamond ring sparkled in the daylight and then she turned to stare at Nick, she filled the screen with her ethereal beauty and faux innocence. I don't think it's surprising that the film takes its best form in the scenes where it's just Gatsby and Daisy.

It's hard not to get wrapped up in the grandiosity of Gatsby, the grandiosity of the story, and the grandiosity of the film's visuals. It's a beautiful story and it does look beautiful on the big screen, but then comes the nagging suspicion that Luhrmann never actually read the novel. After all, half of the quotes are just paraphrased and are not the actual lines from Fitzgerald, and all of the scenes and famous imagery are only the ones that have seeped into the public consciousness (straight from the Cliffs Notes, perhaps). It should work well as a way to introduce another generation to this accomplished work of art, and I do applaud them for that, but it doesn't serve those who already know the book well.
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A Spectacular Failure
Caterpillar_City10 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Adapting famous and well-respected classic literature can't be easy. The film industry's track record attests to this: for every Ran, there are five misfires that people quickly forget. The filmmakers behind this year's adaptation of The Great Gatsby make the task seem impossible. This movie is a disaster.

Much has been made of director Baz Luhrmann's overblown style in The Great Gatsby, but that is just one of the movie's many issues. Actually, let's start with the production design. This movie is super polished and glamorous, but everything looks so blatantly fake. CGI stands in for actual set design and shooting locations. One of the movie's few redeeming features is the scope of the production, but even that is unimpressive when considering most of the movie was made on a computer. Admittetly, the costumes and makeup/hair look nice, and the movie will surely receive some award attention in that department.

The script and the acting are where The Great Gatsby really falls apart. There is no depth of character for anybody involved. The central three characters don't come across as real people. Nick Carraway has nothing to do but stand around and watch Gatsby and Daisy court each other. His frequent narration is baffling pointless, often describing the events exactly as they happen or directly telling the audience the movie's themes, as if we are too stupid to notice them. Carraway frequently stands in the corner watching the action unfold, instead of driving the plot forward with any interaction with other characters. This is a huge problem because Carraway serves as the main protagonist (Gatsby isn't introduced for over 20 minutes). Gatsby and Daisy don't fair any better. Their romance takes up the majority of the screen time in acts two and three, but there is no chemistry, nor do they display any emotional connection with each other. Instead, Gatsby and Daisy just tell each other how they feel with laughably clunky dialogue. There are no scenes showing the intense feelings they supposedly have for each other. They speak at each other instead of having actual conversations.

The actors cannot handle the script's horrible dialogue. The central three actors (Maguire, DiCaprio, and Mulligan) deliver the cornball dialogue with misplaced self- serious melodrama, making many of the conversations draw laughter from the audience. Several members of the supporting cast take the material and ham it up, causing a jarring inconsistency in tone. Lurhmann shows no motivation to rein in his actors.

Speaking of the supporting cast, some of the prominent characters from the first act completely disappear for most of the movie. The only person who shows some level of depth and complexity is Elizabeth Debicki's Jordan Baker, but she vanishes for over an hour, before coming back to do absolutely nothing. Isla Fisher's Myrtle Wilson suffers a similar fate.

The use of music should be mentioned, if only because it is drawing some criticism. Using modern music in this movie wasn't a bad idea, but the execution is nothing remarkable. Instead of using contemporary pop for any dramatic or stylistic purpose, it just seems like Lurhmann picked some songs off his ipod and threw them into the movie.

The Great Gatsby is a failure on nearly all levels. It's individual flaws could be overlooked if the movie came together to form something cohesive and meaningful, but the whole affair feels hollow. Any symbolism or larger thematic goals get lost in the glossy extravagance. The filmmakers seem to be aware of this, so they pound the themes into the viewers with nothing resembling subtlety or grace. It's truly baffling how anybody in Hollywood could green-light a script this poor, and then throw millions of dollars at the production. The Great Gatsby is a soulless movie that covers up its lack of passion and heart with computer generated spectacle. All signifying nothing.
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Dazzling The Tale
billygoat107121 May 2013
The Great Gatsby tells a lot of stories and gains more themes so on. This new adaptation takes a different direction and unique scale. The experience feels familiar to other Baz Luhrmann film, which means it's quite dazzling by his fabulous style and creating an over-whimsical version of the setting. The easiest thing to say is it's fun as a Baz Luhrmann film, but it kind of glosses over the story too much. While it's generally stunning, it didn't dig deeper within the context. The Great Gatsby is fascinating enough but it could have been much grander than what it was shown on screen.

The film did follow the book, it takes a lot of time exploring its setting, characters, and conflict, but explores only little on what's beneath it. The Great Gatsby actually has something more than just romance, but the film's storyline ambition mostly lies in there. The film mostly glosses at the points that suppose to provide more depth to the story which makes the possible satires of the period feels missing. But the film still has plenty of life. Beginning with the performances, Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely the kind of actor who can perfectly play the role and he did standout to be the better Gatsby than anyone else who portrayed the role. Tobey Maguire did what he usually do in movie but he is fine enough as Nick Carraway, same goes to Carey Mulligan as Daisy. Joel Edgerton steals all of his scenes by his intense performance as Tom Buchanan.

The direction is spectacular however. Baz Luhrmann still perfectly uses his own style to tell the story. There are many extravagantly magnificent sequences, especially the party scenes that works amazingly even in 3D. The style really shows how ambitious this film will be and it transcends the scale which makes it wholly an interesting cinematic ride. Around with visual pleasures, there's the soundtrack and music score also keeping things groovy.

It's hard to deny how enjoyable the experience is, but it could have also taken a higher perspective to the actual story. To be much fair, it did a remarkable job bringing it to the screen in a spectacular way with a cast who are very enthusiastic. While the visuals flare endlessly, the storytelling makes the overall film gripping. It's somewhat disappointing how some of its morality was left as a background even though people will say it's not necessary to take it seriously, but everyone has their own aspect on reading the book. The Great Gatsby is not as satisfying as it deserves but it manages to be incredibly eye candy and thoroughly entertaining.
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"I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity."
prameetkumar10 May 2013
I watched this film with a sort of tender curiosity.

It was deliciously excessive and exaggerated, as expected from a Baz Luhrmann production. Leonardo DiCaprio made Gatsby his own ("Old spor'!") while retaining a feeling of familiarity. The screenplay was a faithful adaptation and even helped me understand some of the novel's themes more clearly. And though you'd think hearing dubstep during the Jazz Age would be jarring, the soundtrack worked very well.

But I couldn't love it. And it's (mostly) Tobey Maguire's fault.

Gatsby loomed so large in the original story that it's not hard to forget all about Nick. But it can be argued, and often is, that it was Nick and not Gatsby who was the protagonist of the novel. Fitgerald's story, told from Nick's first-person point of view, was only as good as Nick's narration; Gatsby was only so great because Nick viewed him that way.

Unfortunately, Maguire fell completely flat in his role as narrative guide. There was always so much else going on and so much of Luhrmann's dreamscape to absorb that Maguire seemed to get lost in it all. And — with him — so did the viewer. Without a strong presence from Maguire, Nick was relegated from having a role as interpreter of events to being just another character (and a rather unimportant one at that).

Luhrmann tried to maintain Nick's narrative frame by having him tell the story — first as a patient speaking to his doctor at a sanitarium, then as a writer trying to explain his grief through prose. But those scenes came across (at best) as heavy-handed expository or (at worst) as Maguire's uninspired take on an abridged audiobook version of "The Great Gatsby."

I wanted to love this film. I really did. It had so many wonderful qualities. But with no Nick (only a Tobey) to help make sense of the people and events, "angry, and half in love with {it}, and tremendously sorry, I turned away."
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The Great Gatsby, a spectacular ravishment of amazing complex and beautiful story telling through visuals
MarkRomance17 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I've now watched The Great Gatsby a total of three (3) times, one in 3D. Though there are plenty of harsh critic reviews for this film, an yes I said film and not movie, is because they are too focused on the length of the film and the complex story line and not understanding fully the range of the time period set.

The Great Gatsby is a touching tale of an interloper, person on the outside looking in from the perspective of a young coming yuppie. Truth be told it is another star crossed lovers tale of missed chance and opportunity and the lengths one goes to rewrite the past and mend the wounds felt for years. Like all tragedies, this film does no better in having hopes up. Staying true to the book, the characters lives all end tragic one way or another. The fond and curiousness felt by the main narrator Nick for the infamous Gatsby fuels the story along, intertwining the 'Golden Girl' Daisy; a minx'd bombshell villianized by her brut 'polo' playing husband, the ever unfaithful and racists Tom. Upon meeting Gatsby, Nick is enthralled by the complexities of Gatsby's demeanor and back story as well as enjoying the ever entertaining side to the secretive bachelor. The plot to re-win Daisy's heart and fulfill the empty void in Gatsby's broken and tired soul didn't come easy. Along the way the other challenges were both infidelities and the accidental murder of a mistress. After all of this, Nick is still recovering pierces of the Gatsby puzzle and figuring out ways to make complete sense of all events take place when in the end some gaps are left unfilled.

I enjoyed the intense performances by Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maguire. Both playing cozily off one another and both gave superb vocal and facial workouts. I really liked the easiness of Carey Mulligan's character Daisy. She spoke eloquently enough to pull of the soft and rough tone of a 1920's wealthy east coast flapper gal. Joel Edgerton as Tom, what can I say? Born to play the role of a thick and broastic rich-mistress-having- know-it-all who can't stand to lose anything, not even a potential side sway with a beautiful actress.

All in all I enjoyed the film production value. Also I am sad that the film waited so long to be produced and released, but a little happy because it gave enough time to include Lana Del Rey to the film soundtrack and score. I enjoyed the film despite the critics. All I can say is reread the book and watch the film again and tell me that Baz Luhrmann didn't try to make an emotionally driven artistic masterpiece with great actors and amazing focus shots. I give this film 10/10, but that is my own opinion based on many different category factors.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Thank You.
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Total garbage
headly6619 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
An incredibly noisy mess of a film filled with nonsensical dialog, modern music that makes no sense in the setting and acting like out of cartoons. This director is all flash over substance, seems like he directed it on 10 hits of acid. Nothing original, nothing new about it. This is a film for simpletons and the weak minded.

Dull beyond belief. Headache inducing. You will want to shoot yourself in the head after twenty minutes. I can't imagine anyone who actually liked this and have to give it a one star to counteract the 10 star reviews by people who most certainly don't know what good movies are about.

Simply ruined Gatsby, the book was never like this, but anyone under 30 will think it's cool. Rap music? Really?
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JValenciaIahn11 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Words cannot even explain how horrible this movie was. It was so hard to follow! The quotes were changed and the storyline was also changed. I have read and studied the book so this did not satisfy my hunger for The Great Gatsby. Needless to say I think it's pure filth and the only people who will love it will be people who have no idea who F.Scott Fitzgerald is or have not read the book. The book revolved around the 1920s and the bootleg era, I'm pretty sure this was also the JAZZ era not Jay-Z or Beyonce! The music was horrible and processed! Words cannot explain how horrible it was. I think the director should pay for my treatment! Director was to focused on 3D that there was a cut everywhere. Why would anyone ruin the best Novel of all time? Why?
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Complete. Nonsense.
sacredthesilence8 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The movie starts with a guy who makes many expensive parties in his mansion, to get the presence of the girl he has always been in love with. 1.- It never explains why he can't just go to her, which the book does. This makes an awful ridiculousness of "Why didn't he just go to her?" for years. 2.- After he finally meets her, the entire plot for ENTIRE 30 MINUTES is about her not being able to make up her mind about Gatsby or her husband. 3.- The "climax" of the story is when Daisy's husband discovers he used to be poor. He breaks out in rage, and Daisy gets scared. That's it. Most of the story wouldn't mean much without the visuals, and most of the reviews were obviously bought. The only thing that makes the movie bearable was Leonardo Di Caprio's performance. The characters' entire importance and ego based on materialism and money are justified not with interesting deep stories, but with plain image and the love Gatsby felt to "give her everything", implying a love story strongly based on materialism.
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gnirlf22 November 2013
How this horrid mess has such a high rating is beyond me.

Cinematography: 7 Script: 3 Soundtrack: -23 Adaptation from book: I can't count that low.

The thing that makes me want to vomit the most is how this movie tries to take an older culture and 'spice it up' by adding modern things. It fails miserably. If you have seen "The matrix" trilogy, imagine the big party/rave scene after Morpheus' speech being filled with banjos playing Mozart. This movie is that style of brain violation.

Anyone who has read a book once or thrice prior to it being turned into a movie will understand that you can't capture everything from the text in the time allowed for most films. This is different, it's an abomination. Not only were many key elements left out of the story, it's like it was produced by teenagers who work for Disney and have seen no other sort of film and have probably never read a book.

Honestly, the price of buying or borrowing the book is far less than the cost of theater tickets or a DVD. Even if you're into downloading pirated movies, this one isn't worth the bandwidth. Anyone who rates this above a 3 clearly lacks the intellect and attention span to have even made it through the Cliff's notes for this, much less the book. This is truly horrible.
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'Gatsby' proves not as great as classic novel
ccn1-678-79052010 May 2013
There comes a time in a director's career when he or she may face one of the seemingly impossible cinematic feats: to make the movie better than the book.

Director Baz Luhrmann accepted this challenge when he signed on to direct a new theatrical take of "The Great Gatsby." F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel is considered an American literary classic, a staple in high school English courses. To tamper with greatness could spell disaster for the film and disappoint fans. With this in mind, Luhrmann took the details that made the novel so successful and generously applied them to his film.

The result? Beautiful visuals, awkward editing and overblown symbolism.

The adaptation is narrated by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who recounts his adventures on Long Island to a doctor while at a sanatorium. Using word-for-word passages from the novel, Carraway describes his move to New York to try his hand in the bond business. There, he reconnects with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and learns his next-door neighbor is none other than Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), the secretive millionaire known for his lavish parties and fantastical reputation. Little does Carraway know that Gatsby acts this way in hopes of winning back Daisy's love despite five years of separation and her marriage to another man.

Hoping to live up to its hype, the movie tries to be as fantastic and flawless as Gatsby himself. Servants open doors and move about the house like choreographed dancers. The grand landscapes of New York City and Gatsby's estate look pristine. And the parties are a flapper's dream, with the vibrant outfits and music for dancing (although the occasional rap songs seemed a bit out of place).

Unfortunately, the flawlessness stops with the visuals. Reminiscent of "Moulin Rouge," Luhrmann's excessive cuts put cinematic emphasis in all the wrong places. The opening scenes fly by with exaggerated zooming and cutaways that disturb the flow of the script. Yet during the climactic standoff between Gatsby and Daisy's husband, the camera comes to a virtual standstill. Without the dialogue, it would appear no different from any other scene.

The film was also keen to draw on, and overemphasize, some of the novel's best traits. Carraway speaks Fitzgerald's words like poetry, which fans of the book will appreciate. Yet seeing them additionally written on the screen is distracting and unnecessary, no matter how artistic the font is. Likewise, the symbolisms that added such value to the novel do not translate as well on screen. We can only see the green light so many times before its significance starts to fade.

Luckily, the lead performances keep the plot comprehensible even when the camera is having a spaz attack. Few (if any) actors would be better suited as the suave, slightly obsessed Gatsby than DiCaprio. He and Maguire enliven the unlikely relationship between Gatsby and Carraway with their occasional comic relief and intimate conversations. Mulligan also gives a strong portrayal of Daisy and her struggle to choose between Gatsby and her husband.

There is potential for the film to be marginally close to par with the novel. Unfortunately, it gets lost in the pomp of Luhrmann's chaotic editing, which proves what literary purists have been saying all along: Only the book can put the "great" in "The Great Gatsby."

Stars: *** ½ (out of 5)

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Cacophony... a jumbled mess
sharon-mckay2 June 2013
Coco Chanel said "Once you've dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off." This is what Baz should have done. In The Great Gatsby's case, a lot more than one thing should have been taken off or out of this film. It is Over The Top; Bad. Too much fake CGI.

In a major cinema complex in Sydney in Cinema 1 (largest theatre in the complex) on the second night of opening it was bearly one quarter full and even then a whole row of 10 patrons walked out after that silly scene in the underground jazz club.

It is a cacophony of nothingness. Too much fluff and tinsel. No sympathy for any character could be felt.

P.S. And the blinking green light... Yes, we can see it. Yes, we know what it means. Yes, we are not dumb!!
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Artistic failure
pagedesign10 August 2013
Rap music in a 1920s film? Really?


Was the music of the era not good enough for the film makers that they had to drown the film in generic modern crap music?

Why do directors think that everything needs to be current to be successful?

Why do we need super fast editing as if we all have ADHD?

Why do we need shaky cameras in every other scene?

Yes, the movie has nice art direction, sets and costumes, but everything was lost the minute modern music started playing. Takes any immersion of the period right out of you.

I stopped watching this travesty after the first 30 minutes.

Simply horrible.
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Even with Dicaprio, this movie left me in a state of distaste
vanillavyvia12 August 2013
I had high expectations of this movie, with Leonardo Dicaprio playing Gatsby and the overall cast quite fitting for their roles.

After the first 5 minutes, however, i was left completely disappointed. Partying scenes were glamorous, yes, but the overall effect looked unauthentic. All right, I could put up with that, "for Dicaprio"-I told myself, but as soon as the music played, i knew that this was going to be one of the movies which i would fast-forward in 15 minutes or so.

HIp Hop, in a movie set in 1922, Beyonce, in a movie set in 1922.

Music blaring into my ears and preventing me from concentrating on the movie.

It was so bad, I had to register an account on IMDb, clicked on the review link for about 20 times because it kept asking me to confirm my email and finally writing down these words.

Really, it's best you don't watch it at all.
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The Great Shatzby
chak-standsup15 May 2013
Genuinely awful movie. Watching Toby Macguire act is like watching a mannequin that's realized its sentient but still chooses to do nothing about it. The cinematography feels like the work of an overzealous child. HEY LOOKS LETS GO ACROSS THE RIVER... WHOOOSH... HEY LETS GO BACK ACROSS THE RIVER... WHOOOSH... LETS GO INTO TOWN... WHOOOSH... LETS GO BACK HOME... ZOOOOM. I lost IQ points for sitting through that. I'm secretly hoping that the unobtainable green light on the dock represents the green light for all other future movies this director wants to direct.

The films only saving grace is that it ends.
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total trash, old sport.
towellee31 July 2013
by far the worst movie of the year. an even worse movie than 'This is the End,' which is saying something. i have no idea what DiCaprio was thinking signing up for this turd, but he mailed in his performance, as did Maguire, and who can really blame them?

the movie turns Carraway and Gatsby into characters that might as well have come from some 'MTV Live' sketch show. even Tom is sympathetic in this farce, as the one early scene in the book that establishes his character is muted down in this travesty.

no thanks to the director for taking an American classic and reducing it to a sanitized, make-believe Disney world. stick to ruining Shakespeare, old sport.
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Luhrmann makes me love the book twice as much as I did
boitu-dao17 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment." ~ Chapter 6, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

People, you think you understand the book enough to criticize Luhrmann's movie? Let me begin this review within that heart-breaking note from chapter 6 while I'm telling people how I respect Baz Luhrmann's look at the novel by Scott Fitzgerald. If you've got your own way to dip yourself in the story about Gatsby, this director certainly got his own. And there's no doubt that Baz Luhrmann is a great name because of his own power of expressional adjustment.

Following are 4 main reasons which enable me to vote 10 stars for The Great Gatsby 2013.

1. Music --- I don't know why many people dislike the OST of this movie. I've been listening to Young and Beautiful (L. D. Rey) and Happy Together (Filter) and Back To Black (Beyonce feat Andre)... everyday. For me the music here is quite an intelligent touch to make me feel that the story of Gatsby could absolutely happen in any summer, any era. It's a smart way to link the man named Gatsby of 1920s to every man who was, or who is, or who is going to be 30-year-old. In the novel, Nick Carraway told us many times about this detail, that they - Nick and Gatsby, and Tom Buchanan - were at the same age, 30 year old.

Book, chapter 7: "What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon," cried Daisy, "and the day after that, and the next thirty years?"

2. Cast --- Jay DiCaprio or Leo Gatsby, which name is right? I can't believe if someone else could ever be more brilliant than Leonardo playing Gatsby. And Carey Mulligan is the most beautiful Daisy. I like the whole cast. Tobey Maguire, I totally like him in this movie. There're many bad comments about Luhrmann's choice for Nick Carraway, I can't get their underestimation. Definitely Tobey shows us the real Nick who participated through out the story with an appearance that looks younger than men at his age. I think Tobey, with kind-of-naive eyes and efforts, successfully embodies the best character of Nick. Let's discuss the detail again: men at around 30-year-old. People spend much time drawing the portrait of Gatsby but not many ones can imagine the right picture of Nick, even me. Thanks to Baz Luhrmann, now I remember the eyes of Tobey, the eyes of Nick, and the eyes after the glassed of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.

Book, chapter 2: "But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground."

3. Sreenplay --- I won't tell much because I don't want this review to be a big spoiler. The only thing I can't help writing about is the green light. Yes, the glamorous green light from Daisy's. You see it at the beginning. It's Baz Luhrman who knows how Gatsby was haunted by that green light. I'm a woman and I don't know much about a man's psychical motivation that leads him to dos and don'ts, but now I can imagine more exhaustively the deceiving hope of Gatsby. And the answer for the question "Why Gatsby is great?" may come clearly: it's his primitive love raised by the idea that once a green light is visible you can take it, you will take it at any price. Well, inspired by this I got a wish that every woman could seed such green light into a man to make him as great as Gatsby. And I know Luhrmann's sreenplay makes me love the novel much more.

Book, the end: "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning---- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

4. The 3D era --- Everything looks more splendid, more "real". But the best impression showed up right at the beginning: the old W. Bros logo dimming out and the introduction in 3D comes, then... the green light appeared! I think about an Oscar statue for best production design. Much appreciate to see a modern film being designed that way in praise of the immortality of a literary classic like The Great Gatsby.

Book, chapter 1: "If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness..."
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Give Fitzgerald a break and try not to think of him when you watch this
stebmarc-592-89193112 May 2013
This movie is DOA, a victim of the colossal misjudgment of whoever thought The Great Gatsby would be a suitable vehicle for 3-D special effects and tried to turn it into a showcase for them. At best they add nothing to this subtle and complex classic and at worst they distract the viewer from the novelist's intent, masking every other theme of the novel behind a garish attempt to overwhelm the viewer with with a stylized vision of the roaring twenties. The actors struggling to compete with this distraction and bring Fitzgerald's characters and themes to life are at a serious disadvantage before they even appear, and Leonardo DiCaprio simply isn't up to the task. His seems to be alternately trying to channel Robert Redford and Marlon Brando, the former being an improvement and the later a particularly inappropriate source of confusion about the character. Gatsby is supposed to be an enigma, but this is ridiculous. And when those resources seem unable to sustain him, he drifts off into something more reminiscent of Orson Wells, an impersonation that is way out beyond his ability, though in harmony with his bloated and dissipated appearance. The silly device of scattering bits of text into the snow or rain and then assembling them to float in front in front of the screen is no competition for Sam Waters sensitive reading of the same texts. The interjection of a psychoanalytical frame story to explicate Nick's character would be totally unnecessary if a more suitable and capable actor than Tobey Maguire had been cast. I went home and watched the 1974 version, which I had underestimated. In contrast Sam Waters, Robert Redford and Karen Black were nothing less than brilliant. Poor Fitzgerald. What a disservice. But the novel is pretty much indestructible and will live to fight another day, even if it lost this battle.
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An emetic visual diarrhea ... sheer hyperbole
xxraygunxx8 September 2013
Well ... that was a waste of time ... just watched 30 minutes of the new Great Gatsby movie and was not impressed at all. It is like a long study in visual effects: like those horrible fast paced cut jump commercials you see on television. All glitter and no substance. Eye candy that reflects the emptiness of American culture ... a nauseating, stomach-churning, sickly sugar coated stench of a movie ... disgusting in it's endless glitter and carnival atmosphere. Another Hollywood action packed visual monstrosity bereft of meaning and an insult to your intelligence ... Over the top and into the garbage can. Hollow facade and veneer. No sensitivity, nothing resembling anything remotely contemplative or introspective. Pure entertainment for the mindless distracted masses. An endless and relentless exaggeration. An emetic visual diarrhea ... sheer hyperbole.
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