Thursday, 23 May 2013

Daisy Wilts in Aussie Sun

I saw The Great Gatsby this week. A big fan of the book, not of Leo, I'd been waiting for this since last year when its release was delayed due to technical problems and then to avoid a clash with Django Unchained, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The critics at Cannes fairly panned it, the BBC reporting that Fitzgerald's "delicate prose" had been obliterated and overwhelmed by Australian director Baz Luhrmann's gaudy spectacle. (Thursday 16th May 2013) I disagree. Yes, some aspects changed, but they usually do between page and screen; Nick's appearance in the hospital being advised to write down his experiences, so traumatised is he by the events of summer 1922, and the subsequent flashback/forward scenes; the downplaying of the relationship between Nick and Jordan Baker - exquisitely played by Elizabeth Debicki, to name but a couple. The party scenes, with the swirling aerial shots, trapeze artists, fan dancers and the music. Nevermind that it's modern music: Beyoncé, Lana del Rey, Florence and the Machine; none of it seems out of place. What does seem out of place is Carey Mulligan as Daisy. I thought in the first scene in which she appears, "Yes, she's going to nail this!", but unfortunately she lost pace, sparkle and became wooden, bland and certainly not the sort of girl Gatsby would spend 5years obsessing about. Leo does a much better job than I expected; assured in the beginning; anxious and nervous at the prospect of meeting Daisy again and then finally desperate at the realisation that one cannot simply erase time, that the idealised perfection is not perfect. Full of metaphors, the film gives a snapshot of the age of Jazz, Art Deco and the corruption of The American Dream. Watch out for Isla Fisher - a show-stealer as Myrtle.

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