Baz Luhrmann’s latest film should open with a seizure warning, such is the rapid speed of camera angle switches and super close close-ups. The first 60 minutes left me dizzier than a half-bottle of Bundy Rum on a Tuesday morning.
The Great Gatsby is more like a prolonged music video, punctuated by some dialogue and plenty of Aussies in ropey American accents. Joel Edgerton certainly looks the part playing Tom Buchanan, but his lines are delivered as if they were later dubbed by a man with a sore throat and a crushing hangover.
Some segments of the American Media have criticised Luhrmann for his ‘shallow’ treatment of what they regard to be one of their literary classics. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more. Gatsby is an all-American tale centering on how piles of money make you a somebody. What exactly is profound about that?
In this sense, Luhrmann’s cartoonish characterisation is a perfect fit. Although the hip-hop soundtrack never quite gels with its era. Still, Luhrmann’s strength is in creating beautiful scenes and with the addition of some incredible costumes by Catherine Martin, this film is indeed a visual treat. Just don’t expect a moving morality tale that leaves much of an impact in the days following.