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Published July 2nd 2013
Like or puzzled by Luhrmann?
Baz Luhrmann's love of cinema shines in The Great Gatsby, movie. His film shows there is more than one glittering star on the screen. The presence of Catherine Martin's touch and signature adds further kudos to her creating awesome, gasping beauty for audiences, and Elizabeth Debicki steps into cinema's spotlight to dazzle us with her gifts.
The essence of the novel is portrayed, as we weave and trail through extravagant and excessive times, lived mainly in New York, by the characters in The Great Gatsby.
Luhrmann's film holds true to the Fitzgerald novel; that was a welcome highlight, as authenticity has been discussed as missing in the screen adaptation by this filmmaker. Followers of both creative personages will not be disappointed.
Human wants and desires are the focus, and the actors exude a range and intensity of emotions, reactions and dialogue to sting and stun, as they traverse their trials.
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is the torn agent of love, and his weakness for necessary observation, about how the plot he inadvertently becomes enmeshed in unfolds, rivets him and viewers as scenes are revealed.
Carraway, like us has to know, take steps and fathom actions towards the unknown, and a territory of yet inexperienced feelings to understand himself and people.
Enter Jay Gatsby, (Leonardo DiCaprio) the man himself, urbane and with unshakeable belief that his standing and love for the beguiling, elusive butterfly Daisy Buchanan, (Carey Mulligan) will conquer time and other obstacles in his path.
Mulligan, falters and teeters on the brink of strength and tears, to bring freshness to Daisy's infuriating character. The restraint shown in withholding DiCaprio's being, well into the opening sequence adds to the tension, and to the ensemble feel of the cast We wait, but know he'll be here soon.
Absorbing and magnetic, we become immersed in his journey, as he garners our undivided attention, does battle with his arch rival Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), and himself. Hollywood, palms, pools, guns and boulevards. We could have warned you - Gatsby, the mix has often proven lethal and/or fatal.
The movie runs from elegance to ghastly images of the Depression and suggestions of then, current and coming futuristic wastelands. Reminders and portents, a possible additional avenue of adventure, for Luhrmann to explore.The captivating cinematography and seamless editing are special.
Also noted is: Luhrmann's respect, acknowledgement and pleasure for directors and films that have lit up screens globally, throughout the decades.
Dear Mr. Luhrmann, may I call you, Baz? It is heartening to see and know, your taste in films extends from innovative to classical cinema.
And, although we are all individuals, some of us are more individual than others. Your talent and take on delivering filmmaking that excites the senses and clobbers boundaries - let it continue to reign.