Monday, May 13, 2013



Based on the 1925 novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, the book sold poorly when first published and the author died in 1940 believing himself to be a failure. His work experienced a revival during World War II and has remained popular ever since. This novel is now considered to be a literary classic and has become a staple of school curricula. It consistently is ranked among the greatest works of American literature of all-time. If only he knew.

Tobey Maguire: aspiring writer Nick Carraway
Carey Mulligan: his cousin Daisy Buchanan
Joel Edgerton: Daisy’s husband Tom
Elizabeth Debicki: Daisy’s best friend Jordan Baker
Leonardo DiCaprio: Jay Gatsby
Isla Fisher: Myrtle Wilson
Jason Clarke: her husband George

Any story about the world of the super rich is bound to be lavish and frequently over-the- top. This is no exception but the many party sequences do not really add very much to the main story except to show the extravagance of the rich. But they certainly add measurably to the running time of two hours and 30 minutes which makes the film a good half hour too long.

There is a simple explanation according to Ralph’s Rule of Redundancy:
“Any film where one person takes on more than two key positions has a major shortcoming: the absence of independent critical judgement that results in something less than it might have been.” In this case Baz Luhrmann is Writer, Director and Producer.

Great attention has been paid to period details in and around their homes (except for the few exceptions noted below) but a section of the city they drive through looks like something from the Wizard of Oz and totally out of character. If the producers wanted to show “the other side of the coin” it could have been done in a more realistic manner, in keeping with the rest of the film.

The acting is uniformly good as one would expect from the A-list actors chosen for the roles.

Overall it’s a bit of a disappointment. It is good, but not great like the title would have you believe. 

some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying, brief language.

  • Nick’s doctor suggests he write down his thoughts and slides a pad of paper towards him and turns the pen so it’s vertical and ready to be used. In the following scene although no one touched it, the pen is horizontal, just as it was before the good doctor moved it.
  • Daisy incorrectly refers to Kaiser Wilhelm as the German King: she was half right as he was the Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia.
  • Jay we are told was a Captain in the US Army but a photo of him shows his metal insignia of rank to be a single silver bar, that of a First Lieutenant.
  • The lyrics of one song refer to the stock market crash which did not take place until 7 years later.

I chose not to see it in 3-D and from the comments I hear that was a good decision.

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