The Great Gatsby // Film Review


“Old Sport”

A lot of people have been waiting for this film for some time now and I’m not going to sit here and pretend I was one of them, as much as I was intrigued to see The Great Gatsby I have never read the book nor do I intend to… especially after witnessing Baz Luhrmann’s take on the modern classic. I’m not a fan of Luhrmann anyway but the moment I realised I really wouldn’t like this film was the same moment that I read the tracklisting of the soundtrack. There are very few directors/films that can pull off the idea of mixing modern with the classics and The Great Gatsby is definitely not one of them. There was also a particular moment in the film itself I really did decide that this ‘style’ just really didn’t work and it was when a car full of black people drove past to the song ‘Izzo (HOVA)’ by Jay-Z – I literally spluttered at the very image it was so stupid, desperately clinging the idea of the soundtrack/songs coming before the actual structure of the film.

I could go as far as saying The Great Gatsby was a 2-hour music video advertising the ‘talent’ on offer by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. I can’t really recall a moment in the film that was left down solely to some great pieces of acting or stylish camera work instead of being dictated by what seemed to become wall-to-wall music. I mean, I like Lana Del Ray but come on… did we need to keep hearing reprises of ‘Young and Beautiful’ after the original mini-music video? No… It started to feel like a Bond film, a bad one, where Bond is on a boat and nothing much is happening so you hear a little bit of the theme tune play behind him… kind of to remind you what film you are watching.

The horrible mix of ‘cultures’ crashing together in the scenes throughout this film became more and more painful but really starting ripping at my veins when I heard Will.I.Am scatting his way through another one of his ‘chart’ songs.

I haven’t mentioned much other than the soundtrack ruining what was already a genuinely poor film so here we go, I always have found it hard to pin down a performance by DiCaprio that is poor, but I have one now. I think if he said ‘Old Sport’ once more when it really wasn’t needed to give his dull and bland character something to remember him by I would have just lost all will to live. I was excited for Carey Mulligan to finally get a break into a blockbuster film but my god… If I didn’t know who she was prior and had nothing else to judge her by I don’t think I’d want her anywhere near a film set again. Dull wasn’t the word, in fact I find it more than difficult to find an interesting performance or character throughout the film but it was nice to see ‘Emo Peter’ from Spiderman 3 return to our screen at the end of this ridiculous film that ended up (in classic Luhrmann style) feeling like a panto romp put on by the local secondary school… In fact, I would say my primary school performance of Bugsy Malone had more oomph to it than this bore did.

‘Will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful?’ – this is how it felt in the film when this was played out of nowhere… it’s like reading a review for a film and every paragraph starting with the same phrase. Another thing I think is that 3D is getting more than out of control… I mean, why was this in 3D? It was pointless! Nothing in this whole film warranted it being shot in 3D apart from the animated ending credits.

Baz tries far too hard in his films to be different and market himself as an alternative to the Hollywood Mainstream that he ends up messing up his films completely and they become confusing and hard to watch with busy scenes making characters hard to find and the party scenes especially looked as if they could have just been ripped out of Moulin Rogue his last disasterpiece (ignoring the bore that was Australia).

With any luck we won’t see another one of his films for at least 4-5 years while he tries to find the next era/novel/play to destroy with his ‘unique style’ and ‘fresh’ soundtracks.


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