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The 5 Most Ridiculous Things About 'The Great Gatsby,' Old Sport

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by Drew Taylor
May 13, 2013 12:04 PM
300 Comments
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The Great Gatsby
3. The Editing
For someone who seems to have such a firm grip on what they want to achieve, visually, Luhrmann seems totally unconfident when it comes to maintaining those visuals onscreen for more than a few seconds at a time. There are examples throughout “The Great Gatsby” of this, but an early (and notable) standout is when the camera is glacially tracking down a dinner table where all our characters are seated. The shot is from above and is meant to both establish the geography of where everyone is seated as well as reinstate the kind of over-the-top lavishness that the Buchanans are surrounded by everyday. We should have been given the chance to luxuriate in this moment, but instead, Luhrmann chooses to cut around to various conversations going on at the table, so quickly that you’re never able to latch onto any part of the conversation, but just long enough to disrupt the visual flow and make the whole scene feel wobbly and unbalanced. “The Great Gatsby” is full of moments like this, chockablock with things that Luhrmann just shouldn’t be doing in 3D, like excessive whip-pans (which give off a strobing effect), too many dissolves and constantly moving on to the next camera angle without a moment to take in all three dimensions. Had the movie come out at Christmas like it was originally supposed to, maybe these moments would have been cut down; as it stands, the movie feels like it’s been fiddled with and fussed over too much (something that could explain his lack of commitment to the images). Anyone baking cookies knows that too much time in the oven is never a good thing.


The Great Gatsby, Carey Mulligan
4.
The Tonal Wonkiness
Every movie Baz Luhrmann does is a tonal high-wire act, where extreme silliness is often shoved right next door to dour melodrama (and vice versa). Sometimes this works beautifully, as in the case of “Moulin Rouge!, where camp excess gingerly gave way to true heartbreak, amplifying both emotions tenfold. When Baz’s tonal ping-pong game doesn’t work, though, you get things like the first hour of “Australia” or, even more disastrously, “The Great Gatsby.” The story of “The Great Gatsby” is a tragedy, we all know this going in, but Luhrmann still throws screwball comedy (particularly the first meet-cute between Gatsby and Daisy) in at every conceivable turn, which seems teleported in from a different movie. Perhaps most tellingly, the story is set up as an exposé on the emptiness and frivolity of Jazz Age life, and then for the next two-and-a-half hours, Luhrmann luxuriates in it, blissfully unaware he's failing at the very goal set out by our narrator, Nick. Luhrmann can’t quite seem to distinguish which kind of story he's telling or even what he wants to say about the era exactly, but hopes if he puts enough razmatazz on screen, it won't matter.

The Great Gatsby
5.
The Writing Is Literally On The Screen
An offshoot of the horrible framing devices is that Maguire is narrating the movie and also writing about the movie. Since Luhrmann must indulge in both, we get film noir-y voice over, but we also see him write the story; at first its handwritten and then later it’s typed out, with massive chunks of text cluttering the frame. Either we should have heard the narration or we should have read the story, but not both, and not at the same time. But perhaps most curiously, this idea of tossing phrases up on screen is used very intermittently in a (lack-of) rhythm that's jarring (and frankly, pretty amateur), taking viewers out of the experience, instead of drawing them further in. It's another sign of a filmmaker seemingly not confident with a movie already stacked with stars, in 3D, and with an A-list soundtrack. By the end, it’s literally snowing letters, almost as if Baz has just given up and is hoping that something will resonate.
 

There are, of course, other totally ridiculous things in “The Great Gatsby,” from the soundtrack itself (the completely out-of-place will.i.am song in the middle of a jazz-era party is just one of many instances where things just don't mesh) to the visuals, that are way over the top and add layer upon layer of distracting distance between the viewer and the emotional center of the movie (and what’s worse – the 3D looks awful). Then there are the thinly drawn characters (Carey Mulligan deserved better) and much more. Are we being too hard on the movie? What irked you? Weigh in below.

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300 Comments

  • Cara | August 6, 2014 9:41 PMReply

    The fact that you complained about Nick Carraways narrative buggs me. You say he did nothing to add to the story but the point is, its told from his perpective and there is a reason. Fitzgerald chose not to have Gatsby or Daisy or anyone else narrate it. This is a fault you are finding with the original novel, not this particular version of the movie. I think the point is to have an outsider narrate it, as that makes it more relatable to an everyday person looking in on a story.

  • Old Sport | July 20, 2014 5:07 PMReply

    The movie was great. Agree on the old sport part but u dont seem to have any knowledge about good movies. I also dont like the way u attack people in the comment session. U dont take criticism very well.... not that I am too bothered since i already forgot which website this is. Please go to school

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 2:38 PMReply

    Downstream, Michelle says to the Reviewer: "Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you?"

    Now, this is a very telling comment and is remarkably similar to many of the others below who attack the Reviewer rather than address the substance of what the Reviewer says. It is also very troubling because it reveals a profound truth barely concealed in modern discourse: critical analysis is dead and along with it, critical thinking skills have been devalued and, worse, left undeveloped. Nowadays, everyone's opinion is precious and insightful and whatever comes out of someone's mouth is given equal weight because, after all, everyone has freedom of speech, right? But, lest we forget, freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from error.

  • dsvez | June 21, 2014 8:40 AMReply

    @Drew .Stupid review..the onslaught of ur remarks sounds personal and commecialized..people like you spoils a good project by stuffing like pages with your jealous rant..shows your inside..

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 12:31 PM

    @DSVEZ - make sure you get back to us when you can express yourself in proper English.

  • CC Summer | June 19, 2014 2:47 PMReply

    I could not agree more! I finally saw The Great Gatsby last night. The jarring onslaught of noise and images throughout the film made by head spin. Moulin Rouge was fun and visually entertaining. Very disappointing but your article cheered me up!

  • Clipping Path Service | June 17, 2014 3:04 AMReply

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  • J. Wilshire | June 17, 2014 2:10 AMReply

    I've just watched the movie.

    I couldn't agree any better on your point about the 3-D letters and the music.

    It was stunning watching the luxury of the party, but when the songs started, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING "clicked" in my head - nonsense - I just justificated the songs with a "new way of mixing" old stuff with new stuff as a part of the Director, although obviously it was not like that.
    And, finally the 3-D letters were the best distraction to get me out of the picture.

    First time I see a movie from this director, neverthless the actors saved his career.

    Great review by the way.

  • Rhys | June 10, 2014 4:20 PMReply

    I think uure an idiot Gatsby is one of the greatest movies ever and these are nonsense points when you have something which makes sense come again old sport !

  • M. Normand | June 1, 2014 9:25 AMReply

    Opinions are like @ssholes and everybody has one. Or is the other way around? Well here's another one.
    I find DiCaprio to have matured into an incredibly fine American actor, and I found his portrayal of Jay Gatsby to be superbly precise role. Although a bit overdone at times...and of course it's a modern take on an earlier place in time...I am completely drawn in to the theme of what it was like to be rich and beautiful during the Roaring 20's. The people, the clothes, the cars, the lingo. It was all done very, very cool. DiCaprio is completely convincing, and simply perfect for this role, and I thoroughly loved his performance. The subtleties of his acting are excellent, and truly entertaining to watch. I believe time will reveal The Great Gatsby to be a modern classic, on an earlier time in American culture. I suppose it's just a matter of time before The Catcher in the Rye makes it's way onto the movie screen.

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 12:53 PM

    @ M. Normand - well, I guess you've got one, too. Your cluelessness and gullibility are obvious; yet, amazingly, you seek out opportunities to 'contribute' - what? - contradictions? So, which is it? Is your boy Leo "superbly precise" in his portrayal of Gatsby or is it "a bit overdone at times"? You are "completely drawn in to the theme of what it was like to be rich and beautiful during the Roaring 20's" yet you acknowledge that "of course it's a modern take on an earlier place in time..." But the whole thing is "very, very cool" (are you sure you didn't mean 'very, very, very cool'?)... Do you even understand what a "modern classic" film looks like? Ever see CITIZEN KANE or CASABLANCA or hell, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, for that matter? The anachronistic music alone destroys any credibility of Luhrman's lurid little exercise in excess. As for theme, well, anyone who hasn't read and then re-read THE GREAT GATSBY at least five or six times, has no real insight into what Fitzgerald was doing.

  • Sofia | July 3, 2014 8:46 AM

    I couldn't agree more. I never found anything special in Leonardo DiCaprio but I was so wrong. I decided to watch this movie last night and I was enchanted by his performance. I also think the movie did a great job at portraying the 20's. I don't listen to pop music but I really enjoyed the score, In my opinion it gave a modern side to the movie. I'm completely in love with the 1920's. The clothes, the language, the cars.. I adore the vibe the movie gave off. It's not the greatest movie of all time but I really do think it's good. People will have different opinions on this but they always do. I personally loved the movie.

  • C. Lowe | May 27, 2014 1:44 PMReply

    I don't think you bothered to read the book. If you read The Great Gatsby, that's the point of the entire book. It's all about big, flashy, careless people that run around and do whatever they feel like doing. It was a big and flashy time. Nick narrates the book in such a way that Luhrmann actually captures it dead on. As for the modern soundtrack, Luhrmann has stated himself that he used the hip hop music to portray to young people exactly what jazz music was to the 1920's. (He states it in an interview on the bonus features of the movie.)

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 1:09 PM

    @C. Lowe - no, the point of THE GREAT GATSBY is NOT "about big, flashy, careless people that run around and do whatever they feel like doing." What? You read the book once in a High School (or maybe you were already committed to "seeing low" and just read the Cliff Notes, skipping altogether discussions of theme, character and symbolism) so you think you know what you're talking about here? Do you really think people re-read THE GREAT GATSBY every two or three years to find out what happens?

  • J. | May 21, 2014 10:44 AMReply

    The main problem with the film is the end. They took Fitzgerald's amazing ending and botched it by not having his father show up to the funeral or Owl Eyes. Chapter 9 brings the closure we need to Gatsby's life and leaves us with a little hope. Also, Nick isn't a loser in the novel; he is a man who learned that he had been corrupted by the East and moves back home to pursue his own dream.

  • Kay | April 5, 2014 5:40 PMReply

    Can some explain the phone calls the j gatsby kept receiving ?

  • Sarah | May 12, 2014 10:08 PM

    They were there to establish Gatsby's job as a bootlegger and his ties to Wolfsheim's mobsters. Those were the people who called from Chicago and Detroit that Nick heard him talking to at various points in the movie. They were in the book.

    And the final phone call situation was Nick calling Gatsby (to check up on him? to tell him he loved him? to ask to borrow a sweater? to remind him to watch out for strangers while he swims? this wasn't in the book), but Gatsby died thinking it was Daisy.

  • andy | March 29, 2014 6:09 PMReply

    its the great gatsby, who is going to get it perfect?

  • Connor Donovan | March 19, 2014 11:26 AMReply

    The music, god help the soundtrack.

    If pop music today wasn't terrible,

    it STILL wouldn't have worked.

    There could've been jazz from the 20's and a jazz score that would make it feeel like the 20's and not a costume party in the modern day (the song playing during one mansion party scene made me realize I was in a movie theater, I was watching a movie, it totally looked like a costume party full drunk people who all probably had white iphones, and that today's pop music is really terrible).

  • Lena | March 12, 2014 9:41 AMReply

    I enjoyed the movie, but I agree somewhat with your review. "By the end, it’s literally SNOWING LETTERS, almost as if Baz has just given up and is hoping that something will resonate." Hilarious. I read the book in high school, and probably would not have enjoyed the movie nearly as much if I hadn't read it, or on the other hand, read it too recently.

  • Steve Lawson | March 6, 2014 4:04 PMReply

    Have you even read the novel? You are a prime example of why film critics' opinions are irrelevant, its as if you all have no soul. Its a Baz Luhrmann and it's excellent - Fitzgerald would have loved it. As for the framing and the narration and writing the novel? That's what Nick does in the book. The whole dilemma is whether Nick is a character or a narrator and whether at any one time he is both - he effectively 'is' the lead. Next time you have a crack at writing a review, try and make it less blatantly terrible and over-egged.

  • C. Lowe | May 27, 2014 1:41 PM

    I completely agree. I don't think some of these film critics even bothered to read the book.

  • Bobby | April 30, 2014 4:07 PM

    welllllll in the book Nick isn't in a mental hospital

  • Will | March 3, 2014 4:13 PMReply

    What awful journalism. You are entirely wrong about everything, old sport

  • imagic5 | June 7, 2014 12:25 PM

    Excellent retort.
    You've covered it so well.

    The "awful journalism" actually provided well-detailed claims and supplied a strong evidence to back them up. You, on the other hand, sound like a high-schooler who enjoys Leonardo DiCaprio's films and your response proves nothing to the contrary.

    Try to refute the journalist's claims with a rebuttal, containing actual counterclaims to refute those of Drew Taylor.

    In fact, I agree with Taylor and the movie's reviewer, Rodrigo Perez. The movie failed to capture the book's subtlety, overindulging in the lavishness and high-intensity that Luhrmann is known for.

    ...Old sport.

  • IRRITABLE | March 2, 2014 6:40 AMReply

    Tobey Maguire ruined it for me entirely, his voice and the BS over acting was hard to ignore.
    That and the METAPHORS. I don't want to hear another metaphor or adjective ever again after this movie.
    Over all, I was utterly and absolutely appauled by the horrid acting, exaggerated wording and drowning metaphorical sentences used in this mediocre film. (puns intended)

  • Sonny Ebert | February 26, 2014 5:54 PMReply

    The music was brilliant. I didn't like every single song, no, but the idea was brilliant. Anyone else see Spike Lee's "joint," "He Got Game?" Same thing here...

  • Connor Donovan | March 19, 2014 11:28 AM

    I think the idea was pretty much the worst part, you might have your facts all wrong or otherwise be intoxicated.

  • Del Váuchery | February 12, 2014 2:10 AMReply

    This movie was good, the modern soundtrack in a 1020 scenario wa awesome and exotic, 10/10

  • Tommy | February 7, 2014 9:12 PMReply

    The soundtrack really sucks. I mean it REALLY sucks. An otherwise quite decent movie is ruined by the soundtrack.

    Everything visual screams 1920's, but the soundtrack quickly ruins the ambience...

  • Sunnis | May 25, 2014 11:15 PM

    I don't really know about the other songs, but I think the Lana del Ray song actually portrayed Jay Gatsby accurately. If you listen to some of the lyrics, it makes a lot of sense. "He's my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds" shows what Daisy is for Gatsby. His world revolves around her as the Earth does to the sun. There are some other instances that are pretty accurate too. Overall, I thought the song was excellent for this movie.

  • Intelligence | March 19, 2014 11:32 AM

    Agrees with tobias

  • Intelligence | March 19, 2014 11:31 AM

    Totally anachronistic slap

  • Intelligence | March 19, 2014 11:29 AM

    exactly

  • Tobias | March 16, 2014 1:40 AM

    Totally agree that the music serves as an anachronistic slap in the face! Nothing about the soundtrack fits. The film missed the opportunity to highlight the Golden Age of Jass!

  • SARAH | January 21, 2014 2:06 PMReply

    I have read the book and although Leo's performance was amazing and he totally embodied Gatsby... the music was rubbish. In case any body doesn't know the book was set in 1922 ... so why may I ask when Gatsby is with Mr Wolfsheim is there a song in the background saying (these lyrics may not be perfect but you get the idea) 'lets party like its still 1929' .... or lets not because it hasn't happened yet!

  • This Guy... | March 19, 2014 11:35 AM

    Well I think the song with "let's party like it's 1999" came out before '99, they knew it would be a pretty huge rage because it would be the turn of the century...maybe the turn of the decade isn't as fantastic but the same concept: it hasn't happened yet but it will be a party.

  • Lily | January 15, 2014 12:04 AMReply

    As soon as sees Nicks sees a car full of African-American flappers with a few crates of champagne and the editing goes into slow motion, lingering on this scene and an old white driver gives a nod of the head to Nick as if to say "hellz yeh" while Jay-Z raps... I knew that watching this was going to be a waste of my time.

  • Tobias | March 16, 2014 1:42 AM

    I knew not to pay theater tix $ to see it!

  • Lena | March 12, 2014 9:44 AM

    That was hilarious.

  • Michael Huston | January 2, 2014 4:03 PMReply

    Does this movie ever end? I hit pause every time it gets boring, in-congruent or stupid. Its been two days, tell me it ends...

  • Boscorelli | January 2, 2014 1:41 AMReply

    Anyone praising this film for anything aside from Leonardo DiCaprio's performance is quite frankly an idiot.

    It was a terrible, gaudy, try-too-hard mess. It took Luhrmann's tendency to over-embellish every detail of his films, and totally missed the mark. I loved Romeo & Juliet, and while I didn't enjoy Moulin Rouge, I definitely see the appeal, and how well done it was. This film however was absolutely terrible. The music was the most glaring issue. Allowing Jay-Z to man-handle the soundtrack and force as much Beyonce, and Jay-Z music into the film as possible was an awful idea. A sweeping, and beautifully shot bridge scene is marred by a totally out of place Jay-Z track, and every ten minutes just when I was starting to appreciate the characters, or enjoy the movie, another modern song came and ruined it. I thought the only one that actually fit the movie was Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful.

    Tobey Maguire acted poorly in this also. Aside from the deer-in-headlights reaction to absolutely everything he sees, his character brought nothing to the story.

    This could have been better with almost any other director at the helm. I feel like even if the soundtrack were better I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As is, however. Garbage. 2.5/5

    For everyone calling the review writer an "ignorant hater" you need to watch more decent movies, including older versions of this film, then you need to actually read some reviews on the film, because most people absolutely despised it.

  • Lol | January 21, 2014 6:42 PM

    Look who we have here, another angry Italian film critic? Just don't be late for factory tomorrow.

  • Diamond | January 7, 2014 4:10 PM

    Boscorelli says a bit of truth, however it is a small grain of gold in an imense desert of worthless sand. No, not everyone despised the movie. No, it wasn't a very forced movie. And, although yes, it is true that Jay Z should go hang himself for the treachery he committed in this movie and it would have been better with someone who's actually good at movie OSTs (such as Hans Zimmer or Harry Gregson-Williams, the latter being a personal choice), the movie wasn't crap and certainly doesn't deserve this much hate. The story was well delivered and Tobey Maguire's bystander's pose and DiCaprio's excellent acting really brought it home. Does not deserve a 2.5/5. More so, 8.5/10.

  • BLAIR | December 27, 2013 8:00 AMReply

    Totaly agree with MACKENZIE plus you are an ignorant hater

  • Mackenzie | December 25, 2013 10:25 PMReply

    You just wrote the most ignorant review I have ever read. Go take a film class and actually learn about what you're trying to teach us. You know nothing. Read The Great Gatsby before you compare it to the movie, because it's obvious you didn't understand it. Go watch your awful movies because The Great Gatsby was an amazing film and you're too ignorant to see it because you don't understand good literature.

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 1:48 PM

    @MACKENZIE - you say to the reviewer : "Go watch your awful movies because The Great Gatsby was an amazing film and you're too ignorant to see it because you don't understand good literature." Let me guess; you just graduated high school and wrote this on Christmas break during your Freshman year at community college. Am I close? Because "good literature" and "an amazing film" mean pretty much the same thing, right?

  • Cary | December 9, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    well, i think you know nothing about good movies. thats all. it was spectacular, the actors were excellent, the dialogs and special effects, couldn't be better.

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 1:58 PM

    That you would willing "expose" yourself in this forum as unreasoning, improperly-educated and unable to express yourself in anything but rudimentary grunts...well, that takes some nerve!

  • Lex | December 1, 2013 7:37 AMReply

    Your review, can it be any more ignorant?

  • jawsnnn | November 20, 2013 1:34 PMReply

    I think this is nitpicking. Baz Luhrmann is a director with a propensity for visual flourishes and tastefully going overboard (if there is such a thing). If his version of the Great Gatsby feels like "his version of The Great Gatsby", then I don't think he has failed.
    The novel is not really very difficuly to adapt into a movie, and my thinking is that if you love the novel, you will find it pretty hard to dislike this movie. I will not go one by one on the points mentioned here, but just say this - I liked the movie well enough. I did not find it "badly made" by any measure, and going by the comments here, a lot of other people think so too. Keeping that in mind - calling it a disastrous venture, seems a little sweepingly condescending to me.

  • NewWorldAtheist | July 10, 2014 2:12 PM

    JAWSNNN - you wrote "the novel is not really very difficult to adapt I to a movie..."

    You do realize that NO ONE who has ever studied and written about THE GREAT GATSBY in Academia agrees with you, right!

  • Marco | November 16, 2013 1:49 AMReply

    Tea drinker's on the ball

  • Marco | November 16, 2013 1:47 AMReply

    You're wrong, the modern music he uses is genius. It puts the audience in their posistion to imagine what it would be like living in their time. for example when they first walk into the jazz club/party it really feels like you're walking into a modern club, hearing this new music cranking; the jazz would have been the fresh music of their time. It's comparing their clubs to what we have now and putting the audience in their shoes so you think "that party was insane." And if you can bear to watch it again you'll notice how Luhrman repeats this process when there is a party or a time where wants to engage the audience and really put you in that scene. A bit unusual but genius. On ya Baz.

  • Thelonius Crunk | March 24, 2014 1:41 AM

    Jazz WAS the "punk rock" of that era and very much the fabric of the culture that pushes this story into the outlandish excesses so very much a part of life for this iconic era in New York.

    In the case of this attempt to remake The Great Gatsby:
    Costumes were garish and not finessed.
    Color treatment/tone almost Disney-esque a la 1952
    Cast feels uncomfortable and constrained
    Music is, we'll... Garbage.
    DiCaprio's acting unsettled, off-balance and somewhat caricaturish
    Art direction lacks restraint and descretion
    Twerking flapper black checks? WTF?????

    This reminds me of when a young graphic designer creates one of their "early in the career" designs, and uses a bunch of filters and tricks in photoshop and 15 different trendy fonts. Classic mistake by rookies.

    Rating: 2/10 (Booo)

  • Tobias | March 16, 2014 1:54 AM

    You, Marco, are culturally clueless! There is no hope any music from this film will be remembered beyond this criticism. Jazz was the "Punk Rock" of its day and needs no replacement in this story. You apparently no nothing of music or film or literature.

  • C | February 23, 2014 10:17 PM

    I also think the music was a good idea, but for a totally different reason (and probably one that wasn't intended by the filmmakers, sadly). I liked it exactly because it was so incongruous and inappropriate! It gives the viewer a frankly dizzying experience, which I think fits the context excellently. Gatsby's parties are supposed to be wild, insane affairs and, for better or worse, people today tend to associate older music with "simpler" times gone by. I think if the filmmakers had stayed period appropriate, that sense of being entirely off-balance would have been lost, and the film would have suffered for it.

    That said, after the initial period of the movie where everything is crazy-crazy-party-party, when things get more serious and down to earth, I think the modern music could have -- should have -- stopped. At that point, it's no longer dizzying, nor is it appropriate for the mood later in the film.

    Personally, I love 20s era music and would have been very pleased to hear some in the movie, but I really do think the music choice was, overall, a positive one.

  • Muse | December 16, 2013 3:00 AM

    Bang on, Tom! Soundtrack was just horrid.

  • Tom | December 14, 2013 9:48 PM

    The entire premise of what you're saying falls apart when you realize you're trying to put Will.I.Am in the same category as ANY jazz musician from that era. The music in this movie is unbearably horrible, devoid of talent, and does not even remotely capture the emotional essense of the 1920's. I think this review was spot on. If you were a fan of the book, I honestly don't see how you could have thought this movie was anyting short of a disastrous failure.

  • Glory | November 16, 2013 10:34 PM

    Thanks Marco!! Your explanation can shut mouths

  • Geoffrey | November 12, 2013 8:27 PMReply

    Hated it. I'm usually a Leo fan, and I loved the 74 Redford edition, but I just cant get into Beyonce songs in a 1920's period piece. It's like if in the original when they were driving to the city the Thin Lizzy were playing "The boys are back in town" ... Maybe when Baz does a film about life on the street in the inner city, he'll choose Mozart for the soundtrack, makes about as much sense.

  • Samantha | November 5, 2013 12:23 AMReply

    This movie was really excellent in my opinion, but I hadn't read the book at the time I first watched this film.
    I admit, at first I was a little turned off by the music, but at a lot of times the "hip-hop" music was at a minimum and wasn't too noticeable during the party scenes. However, there was times where I found it too distracting, but it did not add or detract to my viewing experience. As the film went on I felt that the soundtrack's mood went very far from "hip-hop" and you started getting songs like "Over the Love", "Young and Beautiful", "Crazy In Love", and other such songs. Personally, I think the less-obnoxious songs (even though Crazy in Love is a little obnoxious, it still fits the mood) fit the film much better than the hip-hop songs used in the first hour.
    Also, I don't think criticizing a whole soundtrack based on 5 or so hip-hop songs is a good idea; there is still the entire orchestral score (which is excellent) and another whole soundtrack just full of "yellow cocktail music" used in the film. They still included music IN THE STYLE of the era in the film, just not as prominently. As another commenter said, the newer music helps to draw the youth in.

    Also, I hardly even noticed how many times Gatsby said "old sport", and the editing of the film wasn't bothersome to me at all. It's a very aesthetically-pleasing movie to watch (so much symmetry...), and I was dying to watch the film again only a week after first viewing it.

  • Tea Drinker | October 31, 2013 10:15 AMReply

    I'm speechless. How could you miss the greatness of this movie? I've never seen a movie that nearly executes the visions in my mind's eye when reading the respective book.

    One important note about the music... you totally missed it. If it were exclusively 1920s music the movie would have felt dated and would fail to draw you into the moment of the 20s. Sound contradictory? It's not. This is one of those rare circumstances when going "accurate" would actually distance you from the accuracy of the era. The music of the 20s was new in the 20s and captured the "party" emotions that typified the era. The problem is that we're living 90 years ahead of that time, and if you play 1920s music I think of great grandma and goldbond. Doesn't really capture the spirit of the 20s does it? However, tastefully sprinkle in modern party music, queue Jay-Z and will.i.am, suddenly I feel like I'm in the 20s as someone who was experiencing the era for the first time. Nostalgia should have nothing to do with this film and the music hit the nail smack on its head.

    How could you miss that? No vision.

    JF

  • Lily | January 15, 2014 12:25 AM

    If they used music from the 1920s then it would feel like it was set in the appropriate era; using the appropriate and accurate music of that era could also could have captivated a new audience, exposing viewers to a genre of music that isn't appearing on the top ten charts.

    On the one hand you could say Baz was trying to "use the newness of rap as a metaphor for jazz/swing" (I think that's what you are trying to say?), but it felt like Baz just picked a few top ten artists, put in their music as remixed stuff and stuck it in his film (as he's done with past films)- and partly because I think he just wanted to lure in people in their 20s and under. But then he could have looked away from the top ten general hits chart and gone down the Electro Swing route and used Alice Francis, Parov Stelar, Caravan Palace but NOPE.

    So, instead of tastefully remixed swing music, we got Jay-Z and Lana Del Rey music, which is automatically puts a stamp of the date this film was made and we will have the next few generations say "god the Baz version of Gatsby is SOOO '10s its hilarious".

  • Georgia | October 29, 2013 5:11 PMReply

    #1 wasn't bad, Leo did well in using the expression "ol' sport". In fact, Leo was the best thing in this movie. If it weren't for Leo, this movie would have had a low critic vote AND a low audience vote.

  • Jennifer Taylor | October 28, 2013 5:52 PMReply

    The movie was wonderfully done..you're interpretation is very catty and distasteful. I characters are in fact based off the book..a bit altered but in mu opinion to give the audience the kind of hope Jay Gatsby had through the movie. The music..while you may view it as undesirable ..I found it a perfect collaboration of the roaring 20's meets today. The point was to bring to life what music then is like today ..what excitement and energy it brought to everyone. You really need to watch the movie again..with an open mind as Bazaar..and a wonderful cast of actors brought from the pages of the Great Gatsby to the big screen

  • alexander wayland-james | October 28, 2013 4:42 AMReply

    yes! thank you! I mean #5 didn't really bother me as much as the overuse of computerized special effects in general but yes #4! Because by the end of the movie I was sympathizing with Daisy and Tom, understanding their desire to walk away from this mess and try to resume their life anew somewhere else. I mean they have a kid together, and if there's a way to make it work with the original parents, they should give it a shot. And Daisy doesn't attend the funeral? Doesn't admit she was driving? Etc? Well if she did try to clean up the mess, Gatsby's sacrifice would be in vain wouldn't it? At least that's how the movie came off for me.

  • Kat | October 27, 2013 7:39 PMReply

    I like the older version better because it had more of the 1920's feel. Yes, this movie gives a since of our modern time but also it just didn't feel real. It had WAY too much green-screen, too much of our music today, not enough feel that it was the booming 1920's, that I just couldn't bare it! But, if they could put these characters in the old version, then it would be 100% amazing lol. I love the romance in it, it gives a good feel. And I just dont understand what it said in Daisy's letter from Jay Gatsby. But anyways, It was a good movie.

  • Aaron | October 22, 2013 1:18 AMReply

    I thought it was beautiful, yes some parts were not up to par but why let it ruin your experience of the beauty that was in this film. Some of the music was off in parts but others were perfect like the snippet of "New York" that Alicia Keys sang. I thoroughly enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. Beautiful, and the hair was pretty amazing, this coming from a hairstylist who was impressed with the technical skill it takes to mold the hair of that era .

  • Declan P | October 17, 2013 2:59 AMReply

    I personally found the movie very disappointing. The Jazz/Art Deco era is an era i am quite versed in, in fact its the era that studied for my design degree. The music in my opinion discredited the whole feel of the era. Why have people dancing in the style that one would dance to jazz but instead to hip-hop? Whether you are trying to capture a younger audience or not, its not an excuse to take away the most prominent aspect about the era. After all its called the "Jazz Age" for a reason and unfortunately replacing it with hip-hop music doesnt pay homage to the era and the many other facets of it such as Art Deco design and their everyday attire (lounge suits through to black tie). The era was about opulence and for me at least hip-hop doesnt begin to convey that. This all included diminishes the emotion the era should of had on the viewers of the film. I very much compare this movie to the series of Boardwalk Empire as they recreate the era and the emotion that it should bring in perfect essence.

    However the architecture along with costume design within the film was pretty much spot on.
    I do realise I am quite biased on this subject as i have a lot of love for the era and everything that made it great and in saying that I am sure there are many people who immensely enjoyed the film who are not so immersed into the era as myself.

    As for the comment below. I am by no means against the hip-hop genre of music, in fact the majority of my iPod consists of that genre of music. I just dont believe it had any place in this film despite trying to capture a younger/modern audience or not.

  • tones | April 24, 2014 7:34 PM

    I agree , technically hip-hop has always represented more a underground and less opulent feel, not the music of the rich but the common man/ kid.
    There are certainly swing and roaring 20's music that would have slammed - I think the ideas they had of sort-of mixing the two was the right one, but they really did not emphasize the Jazz enough to the point you really did not notice it. If they had modern artists singing over old music it may have been better.
    I loved the book and this version was really fun in general, a feast for the eyes to be sure, but I did find myself "noticing" the music more than I wanted to -it ended up a distraction.
    I do agree that it seemed like they set up these magnificent scenes only to never give you the chance to take them in -I have the 3d bluray and have watched more than once, but every time I wish the camera would pan more slowly to let me take in the whole party scene, and wish the music had somehow managed to be just a bit more "period" -not Victrola sounding but fast, busy Jazz that would get the flappers doing the Charleston type music would have still rocked if done right - even with bass and drums over it.
    I liked it though, and thought the majority of it was really well done and enjoyable.
    And Amitabh Bacchan, of course.

  • John P | October 16, 2013 8:08 AMReply

    Having not read the book and only seeing a theater performance of the book at Sydney's Opera House, this movie was wonderful. Gatsby's insecurities expressed through his repeat use of the words 'old sport' made the character for me along. I didn't even notice Jay-Z in the soundtrack which is how hypnotized I was, some people must really dislike him and that part of the music industry to make it the pinnacle of their discomfort to this film.

  • Ivan McCreath | October 12, 2013 11:52 AMReply

    Movies are made to entertain!!! Whether or not this movie was historically correct or incorrect is not ever to be the point. It is meant to hit the senses visually, challenge intellect yet also cater for those who have the American Soap Opera mentality. It is not supposed to be real. It is an evening in fantasy. It is a lesson in creating a unique and multistoried atmosphere which is suitable for all intellects. It is a movie that makes you come out of the theatre emotionally affected. How you were affected depends on your 'catch' on the movie. Like it or hate it, it has done it's job if you came out of the theatre wondering what exactly have I just seen!!!??
    It is not a movie that I would go and see again because the marvel of the movie is the visual and emotional effect it has on the viewer as a first time experience. To know what was going to happen next would take away the mystery and sometimes overdone excitement that makes this movie what it is........ an absolutely brilliant piece of no brainer entertainment!!!

  • derek | October 11, 2013 10:12 PMReply

    i forgot to add, if you have experience in life, then you know this is an amazing, heartfelt, poetic cinematic experience. sound, acting, and mastery of literature with a perfect match of narrative... i am very impressed with this film. it has human emotion if you watch closely.

  • derek | October 11, 2013 10:08 PMReply

    woman and man, the trap the honor the hope the destruction....

  • DEE | October 6, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    I was so excited to watch this movie, I wanted to see how they were gonna remake ( which always tend to be horrible *cough* Carrie *cough* *cough*) the original Gatsby which from the way they advertised made it seem extraordinary. I made it about 15-20 minutes into this movie and was totally turned off. It was like someone was making a movie for Jay-Z's album but with a "Gatsby" inspired feel. The music use was out of place and I was officially done when I saw the flappers twerking. This movie may be good for someone whose never read the book or watched the original movie but for those who have this was a just a shiny piece of crap... However I will say Old Sport I did enjoy the cars... and... yes that's it just the cars... Old Sport.

  • MaryMach-10 | September 25, 2013 3:21 AMReply

    Yeah, I really, really disliked a lot about this movie and have to say I pretty much agree wholeheartedly with this critique and probably have even more disdain for it from my own perspective as a design scholar. First of all, the camera work is indeed ridiculous, excessively agitated, and in my opinion, did not enhance the viewing experience in any way. Why it was filmed in 3D and not 2D is beyond me, it's a narrative, not a freaking high-thrill action movie. Visually, it reminded me a lot of another film I despised due to it's loosely anachronistic content, the God-awful "Sophia Copola presents Marie Antoinette"-all flash with absolutely no substance with glaring period-inappropriate costumes and 21st century mannerisms affected by the characters, pretty much just a painfully extended pop music video with a loose Jazz Age theme, and when I say "loose" I mean that nothing in this movie is an accurate interpretation of how people dressed, communicated, spoke, or lived in the year 1922 when the story takes place, and this annoyed me to the point of distraction. The set decor in Jay Gatsby's mansion really irritated me because it wasn't even close to period-accurate, just a mishmash of cliché, ultra-luxe trappings associated with say, rap videos or The Kardashians. The uber-glossy Streamline Moderne style the production designer went with in this was not in vogue until the 1930s and definitely would not have been the go-to decor style Jay Gatsby would have chosen to impress his Old Money friends from East Egg. The costumes-don't even get me started! Any episode of Boardwalk Empire could have served as inspiration on how to successfully interpretation early-mid '20s style using extant garments as inspiration, but for some reason the costume designer for this film chose to go with retro-inspired, reworked Prada runway pieces from the '90s instead of attempting to evoke a legitimately Jazz Age look for the female characters, which would have been 10 times more luxurious and impressive visually. What especially irked me was the low-cut bodices with the boobs pushed out, which even non-costume people probably recall is the polar opposite of the 1920s silhouette with the flat chest and de-emphasis on the bust. Then the use of modern-era music circa 2012 served to totally eradicate any notion in my mind that the events onscreen were taking place in the period 1922-25. Actually, having just checked Wikipedia for what other movies I've seen of Baz Luhrmann, I realize that these are the very same issues I had with "Moulin Rouge," a movie everyone but me appeared to have enjoyed. So in conclusion, my honest opinion of "Great Gatsby" is that for the exorbitant amount of money $105 million, that went into this film, the end product was an abysmal failure from a design historian's and a movie lover's perspective.

  • Whocarez | October 4, 2013 8:19 PM

    Excellent assessment and review!

    The simpletons should read what you wrote, but then again, they are simple and wouldn't "get it" all they see is you attacking their precious Leo and Jay-Z. lol

  • Antoine | September 24, 2013 10:36 PMReply

    Go and kill yourself, old sport. AMAZING MOVIE

  • Michelle | November 8, 2013 9:05 PM

    Antoine, your comment is disgusting.

  • Declan P | October 17, 2013 4:08 AM

    I couldn't have worded this better myself! Im glad to see that someone else sees everything that i saw as a pitfall in this film.

    As for the costume design, you are completely correct. Though I do feel they did enough to the get the point across to the average joe who doesnt know the minor details about fashion and the cut of various dresses and suits at the time who think a suit is a suit and a gown is a gown. One example being that there were suits with in the film that had notched lapels, which were out of fashion at the time and were not common by any means (some were still made but were only used for 'average day wear') with the majority opting for the peak lapel even in a single breasted format as it was fashionable. The notched lapel didnt make a big come back until the 60's.

  • HAHA | October 4, 2013 8:16 PM

    Amazing if your blind and deaf, or as shallow as a dried up pond!

    Why would someone kill themselves because they disliked a movie that so few liked?

    You sound like someone that would do better with a Family Guy version of this flick...on second thought, a Family Guy version would be so much better. haha

  • Michael | September 23, 2013 5:53 PMReply

    I've read the book many times, seen both films several times and will definitely watch again.

    I will read your review once!

  • Jeannie | September 23, 2013 9:16 AMReply

    Couldn't agree more! Your review is spot on, old sport.

  • Michelle | September 20, 2013 12:36 AMReply

    Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you.

  • MICHELLE-FAIL-FAIL Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you | October 28, 2013 2:25 AM

    Just mad that Jay-Z is better than you

  • Michelle-fail | September 20, 2013 11:40 PM

    Really??? Thats the best you can do?
    Jay-Z makes a lot of money suckering people like you into buying his brand of nonsense, he really is a no talent fool with a good business/marketing sense! That does not change the fact that using his music on this classic story, was a foolishly stupid move and ruined the entire feel of this film!

    PS...grow up!

  • thehumburger | September 18, 2013 11:38 AMReply

    I didn't think the movie was as bad as the reviewer, but I think a lot of his criticisms hit the mark. The juxtaposition of the modern and old was messy, the visuals were catchy at first but quickly became cloying, the writing on the screen was a terrible idea. But it was all draped on a classic story which held up the movie despite its many shortcomings.

  • Frank Donlon | October 20, 2013 1:37 AM

    For those of you who keep referring to "the original" of this movie, I hate to tell you guys, but there have been FOUR cinematic versions of THE GREAT GATSBY, so just what "original" are you talking about (lol)????

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