The Great Gatsby

the great gatsby posterA metaphor about its own superficiality, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is filled with glitz, fireworks, confetti and champagne hardly masking the emptiness of a world haunted by its enigmatic central figure, Gatsby.

Presented in exhilarating 3D, the film seems to enjoy getting high on aerial shots, circling above the Long Island bourgeoisie, while oscillating between digital grandiloquence and aesthetic ugliness. In the first part of the film, Lurhmann offers a succession of flamboyant, colorful sequences aiming at portraying the 20’s, a  carefree era with strong social class inequalities: while the rich were indulging in various pleasures and excesses, filling their life with endless parties, the poor were working hard, somewhat supporting the lavish lifestyle of a few.

Leonardo DiCaprio isGatsby, a mysterious billionaire who organizes extravagant parties. Welcoming a new neighbor (Nick Carraway – Tobey Maguire) to his world, we quickly realize that Gatsby has his own agenda, using him to get in touch with his former flame, Carraway’s cousin.

The film then turns into melodrama, presaging a dramatic ending reminiscent of Romeo + Juliet. The Jay-Z-curated soundtrack is omnipresent, used as a backbone for this anachronistic and modern portrait of the Roaring Twenties, giving The Great Gatsby the feel of a rap video. This stylistic approach isn’t however as successful as in Moulin Rouge, the film also failing when it abandons its lightness for pathos.

Lurhmann offers a gallery of rough portraits, from the young and frail confidant to the fragile lover, the wicked husband and the neurotic, pensive hero. Talking about Gatsby, DiCaprio doesn’t seem to be as convincing as when he is in front of Martin Scorcese’s camera. Forcing the character’s traits, he creates a pathetic figure that lacks the charisma such a legendary, mysterious man should have. His performance is bland, somewhat reflecting Gatsby’s imaginary world and this era’s vanity. Ultimately the film, as a medium, embraces its superficial content, making us feel cheated; like Gatsby and his entourage, we got lost in his lies.

Director: Baz Lurhmann – Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey McGuire – Running Time: 2:22 – Year: 2013 – Country: Australia, USA

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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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