We all know I adore F. Scott Fitzgerald, so the fact that this movie brings to life his most well-known novel is the main draw.
I also happen to like Baz Luhrmann a lot. If anyone can capture the glittering decadence of 1920s high society, it’s Mr. Luhrmann.
My only doubt at the moment comes from the presence of Mr. DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. Obviously, Mr. Luhrmann has a bit of a soft spot for Leo, as he cast him first in Romeo+Juliet, and now in Gatsby. I, however, am not so certain. This is just the type of film Leo constantly chooses: an epic period film. And he always, always plays the tortured protagonist. Leo’s a fine actor, really, but when one does the same movie time after time, one must find a way to be different in every one. And I don’t think he is. In fact, I can imagine exactly how Leo will be in Gatsby. The tone of his voice, the bulldog wrinkles when he’s breaking down emotionally, the facade of nonchalance…I hope he’ll surprise me.
On the upside (someone stop me I’m critiquing this movie and it’s not even out yet), the choice of Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway is intriguing. Admittedly, I’ve had a soft spot for Mr. Maguire since I saw Seabiscuit several years ago, and then Spiderman and Pleasantville not so many years ago. What’s fantastic about him, I think, is that it always seems like he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing. You get a sense, while watching him, that he’s improvising every single line he delivers, drawing his intensity not from a script, but from the force of the story and the character. It’s subtle, but it makes you forget you’re watching an actor act.
I don’t want to not mention Carey Mulligan, but I also don’t feel like I have to; she’s been steadily good in everything I’ve seen. She and Michelle Williams, as a matter of fact, are my favorite actresses right now, and actually remind me of each other in terms of their eclectic choices. I like an actress who’s established, but who isn’t afraid to do an indie film.
Okay I’m done. Done with the film talk, but not done counting the days until December 25th. I’d say that gives me enough time to reread Gatsby.