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F Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is regarded as a modern classic (some claim that it’s one of two perfect novels) and consequently, the expectations for Baz Luhrmann‘s cinematic adaptation were orbiting somewhere in the vicinity of Neptune.
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is reminiscing about the Summer of ’22 when he had moved to Long Island to try his hand at bond salesmanship. His cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton) lived close by and he drove over for dinner where he also met Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki), a celebrity golfer. The discovery of Tom’s affair with Myrtle (Isla Fisher) and the ensuing invitation to one of Jay Gatsby‘s (Leonardo DiCaprio) extravagant parties changed Nick’s life forever.
Everybody knows that Mr Luhrmann is no Peter Weir or Jane Campion. He is not even an Andrew Dominik. What he is, on the other hand, is a competent director with an instantly recognizable aesthetic that, up until now, veered away from chasing its own tail for inspiration. It is obvious that Mr Luhrmann nurtures a profound respect for the source material (plot, green light and billboard advert are all there) and he did a rather decent job of splashing it onto the big screen.
Might possibly fail as an adaptation; but as an illustration, it’s spot on.