"The Great Gatsby" is one of my favorite books of all time. However I was skeptical when Baz Luhrmann, a man famous for his "clever" modernization of Romeo and Juliet (which was terrible), was chosen to direct this classic novel.
Unfortunately I was right to be worried.
The visuals look plastic, as most of the city and the settings are done with sloppy CGI and a strange uses and blends of motion blur and slow-mo.The inept direction is another large factor in the near unbearable first third, where everything is unbelievably bad. Shots cut far too fast and often you feel like you're watching a Micheal Bay action film when all that's happening is two people talking or a apartment party scene. However, none of this is half as bad as the music. Jay-Z and dubstep such as "I Can't Stop" are placed in terribly inappropriate timings where Baz felt they would work because they are "partying." It was almost unbearably embarrassing to be sitting in the theater listening to the music accompanied with the 20's setting. When there isn't 21st century music playing in the background, Baz instead plays sappy, cliche stock music that I've hear a million times before in independent movies that don't have the budget to score their own movie.
Although I actually felt like walking out after the first 40 minutes, the direction eventually calms down and the ending third is actually decent. DiCaprio is almost always good, and he does a good job of making Gatsby human and sympathetic to the audience. I also appreciated the close relationship it had to the book, quoting specific lines and skipping almost no plot points.
However, this movie's problems are far too grotesque for the budget it had. I simply want a really good Gatsby movie, preferably made by PTA. So please Paul, make a Gatsby.