TrustMovies must admit to being one of those crotchety old fogeys who didn't much like the book the first time he read it (nor the second; there will be no third). Fitzgerald's stripping away of so much of the frou-frou found in other novels of its time may have been a good thing in theory, but it left, in my estimation, a distinct lack of character to just about all the characters. Gatsby is supposed to be mysterious, but F. Scott does pile it on. And Luhrman takes that pile and turns it into a slag heap.
Leonardo DiCaprio (above, doing that long-distance-gazing trick) was either a much better actor as a very young man or his later choice of projects and directors has failed him badly. Here, he resonates almost nothing of any consequence. (Still, he's a better actor than Robert Redford is and was, so this Gatsby is at least several shades less boring.) Carey Mulligan (above, emoting) has proven herself an accomplished actress time and again, but compare her work here with that in Never Let Me Go (or just about anything else she's done) -- and be amazed. Every acting choice is the most obvious one. This must be the fault of Luhrmann.
Tobey Maguire (above, center left) ought to have been a fine choice for Nick Carraway, but set this role against what he does in, say, The Details, and you see an actor ensconced in utterly mediocre dialog, under the hand of a director who can do no more than produce the occasional, colorful flash.
adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, before he had completely given over to special effects and flash-n-splash. His best movie remains his first: Strictly Ballroom. From there, he's come down a notch or ten with each new endeavor -- and Gatsby's the nadir. Might there be a silver lining? Of course: From here, the guy can only climb back up.
Warner Bros. and running an unconscionable 2 hours and 23 minutes -- has been out on DVD and VOD for a month now; Netflix was just allowed to send members its copies this week: Talk about "restraint of trade." (And yes, I am breaking my rule of only covering what's on Netflix streaming because this movie, seen in all its fake glory on Blu-ray, made me so damned angry.)