Friday, June 7, 2013

The Really Really Great Gatsby


Baz Luhrmann's work sharply divides critics and The Great Gatsby is no different. In fact, as I write this, Rotten Tomatoes has the Tomatometer at dead on 50% because BL's work has always sharply divided critics.

It's getting to be a cliche when speaking of Baz, but it's true - you either love him or you hate him. If you didn't like Moulin Rouge and don't appreciate his style, you won't like The Great Gatsby.

Me? I love his style. Love it. I was disappointed in Australia - but Gatsby is a return to his Moulin Rouge form. The guy is a bold genius, an iconoclast who doesn't give a toss what more timid souls say about him. No-one will ever look at a Baz Luhrmann film and wonder who made it.

Leonardo DiCaprio's Gatsby is so beautiful, so intensely, twistedly, passionate, that he makes me want to cry just to look at him.

It's a magnificent film, his best work, in my opinion. I simply loved Moulin Rouge, but there was a inconsistency in style in several places that was noticeable. Gatsby, however, is all of a piece, perfectly calibrated and balanced within the mad vision of a filmmaker who obviously delights in remaking the world to better resemble his own imagination.

 And now, someone is going to say, Oh, but it's flawed!

And I will reply, Well, duh!

What a redundant statement. Of course it is. What film isn't? What anything isn't?

The level of vitriol that has been aimed at this film is quite bizarre. I saw a review that said it looked dreadful. Er, what?  It doesn't look dreadful at all. It looks beautiful and different from anything you will ever see again.

Here are a couple of rave reviews to counter-balance the terrible ones that have received the most publicity:

The Great Gatsby: 4.5 stars

‘The Great Gatsby,’ Interpreted by Baz Luhrmann

Page on Darcymoore

Judging Luhrmann’s Gatsby: Five English Scholars Weigh In

I particularly like the last page in which some clever journalist has gathered 5 English Lit professors to debunk, with their reviews, the preposterous idea that the film strays too far from the source material (as if that even matters).

And just one more for your amusement.

James Franco reviews James Franco's review of 'The Great Gatsby'

If there were anything I wish he'd have done differently in hindsight, it's to name the film just plain 'Gatsby' to head off all those The Not So Great Gatsby jokes which folks seem to think are clever.

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