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Million Dollar Movie

I can’t bear to watch movies directed by Baz Luhrmann. They are frenetic and dizzying and unpleasant. David Denby, reviewing Luhrmann’s new version of The Great Gatsby in this week’s New Yorker, says “Luhrmann’s vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he’s less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste.” Denby also notes that “when Luhrmann calms down, however, and concentrates on the characters, he demonstrates an ability with actors that he hasn’t shown in the past.”

Leonardo DiCaprio looks like a good fit for Gatsby, doesn’t he? I’m curious to see his performance but I don’t know if I could sit through the rest of it.

Denby concludes:

Will young audiences go for this movie, with its few good scenes and its discordant messiness? Luhrmann may have miscalculated. The millions of kids who have read the book may not be eager for a flimsy phantasmagoria. They may even think, like many of their elders, that “The Great Gatsby” should be left in peace. The book is too intricate, too subtle, too tender for the movies. Fitzgerald’s illusions were not very different from Gatsby’s, but his illusionless book resists destruction even from the most aggressive and powerful despoilers.

For more on Gatsby check out this post by the late Roger Ebert.


1 RagingTartabull   ~  May 9, 2013 9:57 am

my fear is that Luhrmann has it in his head that the book is a) a celebration of excess and b) a love story. Combine that, which I think is a mis-reading of Fitzgerald, with the fact that he's gonna shoot this thing like a cross between Moulin Rouge and Belly...and well...I'm scared.

2 Matt Blankman   ~  May 9, 2013 10:45 am

[1] Bingo. He keeps talking about it as an "epic love story." I'm sorry, if that's what you got from Gatsby, you totally misread the book.

I *don't* think DiCaprio is a great fit, because he's too pretty. Gatsby's a bit of a roughneck, not a prettyboy. Redford was all wrong, too. An early 70s Nicholson might have been just right in the part.

3 Alex Belth   ~  May 9, 2013 11:03 am

2) Interesting point.

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