Gatsby Just Not That Great
Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan star in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 10, 2013 7:21 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby arrives with much fanfare—but, based on the reviews, it looks like those high hopes might be dashed. Critics are mixed on the film as a whole, though no one disputes that it's as bombastic as might be expected from Luhrmann.

  • Among the bad reviews is Joe Morgenstern's in the Wall Street Journal. He calls the film "dreadful," noting that the tale of American excess is "told idiotically, full of noise and furor, signifying next to nothing." It's "a spectacle in search of a soul." Another ouch: "Given the lifelessness of the enterprise, there's little point in belaboring its failure to convey the novel's themes."

  • "Luhrmann’s vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience," writes David Denby in the New Yorker, "and it suggests that he’s less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste."
  • Other critics are more measured. "The best way to enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s big and noisy new version of The Great Gatsby—and despite what you may have heard, it is an eminently enjoyable movie—is to put aside whatever literary agenda you are tempted to bring with you," recommends AO Scott in the New York Times.
  • Sure, it's "a gargantuan hunk of over-art-directed kitsch, but it makes for a grandiose, colorful, pleasure-drenched night at the movies," writes Dana Stevens at Slate. "Far from betraying the spirit of Fitzgerald’s novel, Luhrmann treats the book with a loving mix of straight-ahead reverence and postmodern playfulness."

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May 20, 2013 10:17 AM CDT
And another one of Leo's hammy performances goes over like a lead dirigible.
May 11, 2013 7:13 AM CDT
I remember reading the Great Gatsby in high school english class.Very good book.I may have to see this movie.The Jazz Age seems vaguely fascinating to me, although my parents weren't even born yet.
May 10, 2013 7:06 PM CDT
Almost every review I've read is like a cut-and-paste job of the same thing, and I STILL want to see it. I have a feeling they write these things as a challenge... and I accept it!