Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire – Spider-Man) returns from the war and decides to set aside his ambitions of being a writer in favour of a sensible, paying job (as a bondsman). His small but functional home on the outskirts of New York City sits between the elite of the East Coast. None more infamous and mysterious as Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio – Titanic), a reclusive millionaire who befriends Nick. Soon Nick comes to learn about Gatsby’s unabashed positivity, his pursuit of happiness, the real story about his lost love Daisy (Carey Mulligan – Shame), and how he intends to win her back.
The Great Gatsby is a visually stunning adaptation of the seminal novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the capable hands of visionary director Baz Luhrmann, Gatsby oozes class and style in every frame. From the breathtaking scenery to the amazing soundtrack, this is a movie that revels in its ambition.
The cast are all exceptional and there isn’t one bad performance in the movie. Leonard’s DiCaprio is excellent as the enigmatic Gatsby, a man virtued on style and positivity. DiCaprio makes the role his own with a confidence and fragility thats a joy to watch and hands in one of his most accomplished roles to date.
It’s nice to see Toby Maguire back on the big screen and he plays the part of Nick, our narrator, with accessibility and compassion. Joel Edgerton is also expertly cast as Gatsby’s main rival, Tom, and the three main male leads work exceptionally well together.
There are captivating turns from Carey Mulligan as Daisy, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke and Elizabeth Debicki. Bollywood royalty Amitabh Bachchan also graces the movie in a small but very important cameo. He captures and holds your attention in a memorable role full of style and pageantry.
The effects are unmistakably crafted by the keen eye of Baz Luhrmann. He brings a grand scale to every picture he tackles and The Great Gatsby is no exception. The dance numbers in the background of Gatsby’s lavish parties are masterfully choreographed and woven into the fabric of this story. Every shot looks sumptuous and gives the film a sense of identity – something that pulls you through a few lulls towards the middle.
The music of the film plays such a magical role in its narration. From reworked classics like Beyonce’s Crazy In Love to the haunting score, The Great Gatsby marries its music to the beautiful imagery on show quite perfectly. With Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter onboard as the films executive producer, you’d expect nothing less.
Above all, The Great Gatsby is a story about lost chances and the perils of love. About fortitude and ambition and the role it plays in our personal search for happiness. After the groundbreaking Romeo & Juliet and the truly outstanding Moulin Rouge, there really wasn’t anyone capable of bringing this kind of spectacle to life in the way Luhrmann does. With affection and grandeur galore, The Great Gatsby is a classic and captivating treat that you have to experience on the big screen. It may not top Luhrmann’s very best but it’s certainly one of his boldest pictures.