by Ana M.
In 1996, Baz Luhrmann’s flamboyant version of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” incensed many a purist, enthused a whole teenage generation, and propelled a relatively unknown Leonardo DiCaprio into semi-stardom virtually overnight. Reuniting with the actor for the first time in sixteen years in “The Great Gatsby”, Luhrmann once again gives the star the title role in this classic American drama.
Based on the 1925 novel by F.Scott Fitzgerald, the film recounts the story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy bootlegger, whose infatuation with the young Daisy Buchanan moves him to buy a house right opposite hers in the hope to renew their lost relationship. Daisy’s cousin, Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, is the narrator. The fourth adaptation of the novel for the big screen, the picture is thought to be the first genuine contender for both critical and commercial success. At first glance, it would only seem safe to bet that Luhrmann, according to
his predilection for clamour and psychedelic effects, chose to make his movie a 3D venture with the sole intent to choke up its viewers with glitzy takes of lavish Jazz Age parties, but this choice, he says, was really born of a desire to immerse the spectator into the story and into Gatsby’s world. He also cleverly decided on rising British actress Carey Mulligan for the role of Daisy, and the general enthusiasm for the DiCaprio-Mulligan duo allows a good clue into the film’s take-off. Mulligan, who gained international recognition for her performance in “An Education”, calls the part of Daisy Buchanan her greatest challenge to date due to the immense popularity of the novel. In an interview with Collider, the actress described her character as “a whipped cream. She’s light and fluffy with no substance, and she knows it, and that’s her tragedy.”
For Luhrmann, as he recently told the New York Times, Fitzgerald was a modernist writer very influenced by the cinema, and one can easily imagine the Australian director imparting the original plot with more or less subtle details likely to directly contrasting with its times. Excessive by nature, little concerned with historical accuracy and arguably gaudy at his worst, Baz Luhrmann remains one among a handful of present-day filmmakers to demonstrate a constant ability to innovate and transcend, ravishing the heart and senses at every camera turn with sumptuous imagery and an utterly outstanding sense of direction. This, along with its engaging cast, is bound to give this Great Gatsby a serious advantage over its vanished forerunners.