Movie Breakdown: The Great Gatsby

May 8, 2013


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Baz Luhrmann is as decadent as any director has ever been, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is about decadence.  This pairing sounds meant to be.

The Reality:

There are moments in The Great Gatsby where Baz gets it all right.  The screen is full of glitz and glamor, and the characters seem to glide around as they elegantly tell grand stories and passionately express their love for one another.  It really is impressive in all of the ways you want it to be.  Unfortunately, there’s also an equal amount of things that just don’t work.  The Great Gatsby has a clunky pace that often kills any momentum its built up, and I often found myself wishing I could hit fast forward.  Also, while the world seems to be raving about the soundtrack, I thought the modern selections were more awkward than innovative.  Why not just go ahead and set the entire thing in present day?  That would have at least provided Baz some flexibility to really play and explore.  Instead, he didn’t bother being adventurous at all, and because of this The Great Gatsby largely feels flat.  If you see it, make sure you do so matinee-style.

The Lesson:

It’s never great when Baz Luhrmann plays it safe.


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