Cinematic Releases: The Great Gatsby

Visual mastermind Baz Luhrmann once again delivers a vivid portrayal of a long lost era. The Great Gatsby is his latest achievement in film that falls slightly below his typical level of excellence. While the film delivers transcendent acting, stunning set design, and a divine sense of color, it fails to capture the elegance of Moulin Rouge or the passionate romance of Australia. Luhrmann is seemingly obsessed with fantastical tales of star crossed lovers and its beginning to wear a little thin.

Luhrmann tries too hard to satisfy a modern crowd with a hybrid score that melds hip hop with period specific music. It's out of place and sadly expedited my mindset from the experience of this classic story. His taste in soundtrack music worked in his Romeo and Juliet feature and was one of the main stars in Moulin Rouge. In The Great Gatsby, it's a distracting annoyance that detracts from the scenery. That's truthfully my biggest gripe about the film.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Gatsby, offering one of his most refined roles to date. Tobey Maguire plays Nick Carraway, best friend and support system to the title character. While Maguire wasn't the best casting decision for this role, it's his first major breakaway from the Spiderman franchise and will ultimately reset his career as a dramatic actor. Carey Mulligan steals the spotlight from both lead actors with her absolute dedication to the character of Daisy. Every detail down to the use of her voice is period perfect. Joel Edgerton plays a great foil to Gatsby, but never fully captures the essence of the character.

The Great Gatsby is a film I would definitely suggest seeing. Much like Luhrmann's other films, it's a movie that over stimulates your visual and auditory senses while portraying a romantic story of love gone awry and the violence that ensues. It's not his best picture, but it's still far greater than most things that get released these days.