The Great Gatsby opens this weekend. So what do the critics say on Baz Luhrmann's much-anticipated remake?
Paul Whitington: Irish Independent:
"While you could level all sorts of accusations against Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby, you certainly couldn't call it dull...For all its failings, Luhrmann's film is a genuine and sincere attempt to capture the melancholic essence of Fitzgerald's story, and DiCaprio is exceptionally good as the charming and unshakably optimistic Gatsby."
George Byrne, The Herald:
“The Great Gatsby isn’t actually as bad as it could have been, despite scenes which wouldn’t even have made the final cut of Madonna’s wretched W.E. and the most pointless use of 3D you’ll see this year, but it wastes another fine turn from its leading man and is nowhere near as good as it should have been.”
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:
"The crucial moments of drama are often drably handled, and when Gatsby and Tom finally have it out over Daisy’s future in a sweltering Manhattan hotel suite, you can’t help but wish that one of them had snuck in a glitter cannon [...] Here, plot is something that happens when there’s nothing better to do."
Tim Walker, The Independent UK:
"Luhrmann’s taste is as garish as his hero’s, and for much of its running time, his film is an intoxicating cocktail of colour, lights and noise: outlandish party scenes, fantastical New York cityscapes. It is crass and superficial – and, yes, it’s often difficult to decide whether the director is exposing the hollowness of the era’s decadence, or simply fetishising the suits."
David Denby, The New Yorker:
"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."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:
"No matter how frenzied and elaborate and sometimes distracting his technique may be, Luhrmann's personal connection and commitment to the material remains palpable, which makes for a film that, most of the time, feels vibrantly alive while remaining quite faithful to the spirit, if not the letter or the tone, of its source."
Kate Muir, The London Times:
"It’s best to accept before buying the popcorn that this is not a literary adaptation but a 3-D blockbuster, with Gatsby as the superhero."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap:
"The cardinal sin of this new "Gatsby" is that it’s dull, and say what you will about Luhrmann’s previous movies, that’s not an adjective that usually comes up. Here, sadly, you can hear the wheels of the plot grinding as loudly as Gatsby’s custom Duesenberg."
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times:
"What's problematic in Luhrmann's version is that while his screenplay (co-written with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce) takes pains to parallel the book's tale of Jay Gatsby's star-crossed love for Daisy Buchanan, his filmmaking point of view suffocates beyond resuscitation any dramatic interest the story might have generated."
Verdict: It may not be all that great, but it's definitely worth going along - for the decadence, the and the soundtrack alone. Just don't expect to see F Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece on the screen.
Finding new and improved ways to fail to film an unfilmable novel has never stopped anyone before, and Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s decent stab at rendering Jay Gatsby great is probably the best of the titular character’s five film incarnations.