Baz Luhrmann’s vision of the Roaring Twenties dazzles as a purely sensory piece of sight and sound. The hollow narrative doesn’t stop The Great Gatsby from entertaining as a gorgeous, glittering work of visual art.
-Diva Velez,

It looks great, and it’s an impressive tale to bring to the big screen, but the lack of interest in telling the story keep “Gatsby” from being a great film.
-Kristian Harloff, Schmoes Know

And so we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past

There’s never been a movie quite like this. A 3D romantic drama is new ground for Hollywood and if Gatsby’s success is any indication, we will see a lot more of these in the future. I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into this film because I intentionally neglected to read the novel in high school. It turns out, going in without any context was a a good move. The film really surprised me in a way I don’t think would have been possible had I been more familiar with the material.

The cinematography and time period of this film is every bit a character as Leonardo DiCaprio or Toby Maguire themselves. New York City becomes a living, breathing creature as the characters travel from the mansions of West Egg through the grimy dust of the isolated coal mining town, the “Valley of Ashes”, connecting the wealthy to the sparkling skyscrapers of Manhattan.

The bright lights of 1920’s Manhattan

This movie’s biggest strength is it’s incredible visual style. It is by all accounts a Baz Luhrmann film. The Great Gatbsy looks absolutely fantastic; filmed with precise detail, Luhrmann brings his frenzied visual sense to every scene. The parties, street races, and even moments of dialogue are framed with his own unique stamp.

The decade of the Roaring 1920’s and all the excesses of wealth are on prominent display here: fancy costumes, fast cars, giant parties, extravagant furnishings, bootlegged alcohol. The divide between the rich and the poor is vast and it really takes a toll on the less fortunate. The film does a great job showcasing just how this particular lifestyle dynamic alters the fate of Gatsby and his acquaintances.

Gatsby is no stranger to extravagant house parties

This film has more to offer than just a unique visual style. A great, anochronistic soundtrack composed by Jay-Z pumps through all the party scenes and brings a cool modern twist to the otherwise period setting. All the acting is more or less first-rate, albeit deliberate. Often lines are recited or narrated like being read from the pages of the book. Although intentional, it can be kind of jarring.

Gatsby’s lavish mansion in West Egg – a bit excessive

The Great Gatsby is a ton of fun and deserves to be seen on the big screen. It is the first of its kind, a 3D drama that comes complete with director Baz Luhrmann’s unique and energetic visual style. Clocking in at well over 2 hours, it does seem to drag just a bit in parts of the second act, but not enough to deter the overall enjoyment of the film. Leonardo DiCaprio puts on an outstanding performance as Gatsby that will help this film become the definitive version of the literary classic for years to come.

FilmFire review:
4/5 forms