Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) recollects the summer he spent with Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), as Gatsby tries to woo Carraway’s married cousin-Daisy (Carey Mulligan).
Let me tell you about Gatsby, he ain’t that great. Cartoonish and overtly grandiose, The Great Gatsby was made for audiences who never endured reading the book in 9th grade English class (or just read the plot on Wikipedia). Decline in public school funding means principals, across the country, had to go sell all copies of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work at Half Price Books. Why the hell was this movie in 3D?
Most of the actors are all exceptional in projects past, so why didn’t they fit together right here? Sometimes you put in all the right ingredients in, yet your dinner still gets burned in the oven. Maybe the abundance of talent overflowed out of the cup…if The Great Gatsby is a cup that is. Trying to be positive for a tick I did like how most of the shots were sweeping; the camerawork was not stagnant. For a split second it makes you think something great is going to happen. What a let-down. Even the great Leo’s introduction was cheesy. In fact the whole damn thing bloated the imagination of what the Roaring 20’s were like. Yes there was booze, and capitalism run amok. I am almost certain that people back then were not standing in a convertible, drinking, while Jay Z was playing. While the car is crossing the Brooklyn Bridge no less! There is booze and capitalism run amok now, but I’ve never seen people driving across the Congress Bridge showboating lifelessly.
While I’m on the subject, what is up with the soundtrack? Fergie? Jay Z? The best song put into the mix was Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, re-sung of course by Beyoncé. Hearing a dubstep song defeats the purpose of trying to convince audiences that we are in the past. Would Gangs of New York be as poetic if Bill the Butcher was dropped in by helicopter for the final battle? What if in The Patriot Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger were listening to an MP3 player while waiting for the militiamen to come back to the hiding place in the swamp? The Man with the Iron Fists infused a hip-hop soundtrack with feudal China, and somehow that worked. Not here.
The approach to the climax of the movie, where the group rolls into the city on a hot day, stalled out. If I was a studio executive I would not have given the green light for this project. The estimated budget of $127 million could fund a lot of other projects that provide entertainment, inspiration, and is worth the time. Of course this is just my opinion. I am going to forget this ever happened. Instead I am going to remember Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton from other films that they were in. Okay I will say something positive one more time-the costumes and hair were quite authentic. Okay, we’re done here.
The Great Gatsby - ★1/2