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Film review: The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann

Reviewed by Aaron Kreuter

The Great Gatsby, the new film by Australian director Baz Luhrmann, is one of the most anticipated literary adaptations of the year. Luhrmann’s colourful, overloaded style seems the perfect visual match for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel, filled as it is with the glamour, glitz, and overabundance of the roaring twenties. Fans of Luhrmann’s other adaptation of an English-language classic — 1996’s Romeo + Juliet — will not be disappointed. And for those who want to see the story of Nick Carraway, Daisy Buchanan, and Jay Gatsby played out against a lavish backdrop of swirling, boozy parties, the camera zooming all over Long Island and Manhattan, set to a soundtrack of historical tunes and contemporary hip-hop, this is the movie for you.

Tobey Maguire plays the film’s narrator and protagonist, Nick Carraway, a young mid-westerner with hopes of making money off the stock market as a bonds salesman. Nick moves to the East and rents a small cottage in the newly affluent Long Island suburb of West Egg, where he will meet Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), the exceedingly rich, party-throwing, secret-keeping character who gives the movie its title. Carey Mulligan is perfectly suited to Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s second cousin and Gatsby’s lost love, and Joel Edgerton steals every scene he is in as Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan, the polo-playing, old-moneyed aristocrat and adulterer. The whole cast embodies the language and the extravagance, as well as the underlying longing and fear, that the novel so brilliantly captures.