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Watching "The Great Gatsby"
Published on June 5, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new Baz Luhrmann spectacle "The Great Gatsby."

Here's an excerpt:

"Maybe 'The Great Gatsby' just wasn’t meant to be a movie.

Not that director Baz Luhrmann’s take on the great F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is a bad film. It’s engaging and absorbing, with a bright, sumptuous and sometimes dizzying style that almost always makes for a visual feast. And it’s well-acted and fairly faithful to the book. But Luhrmann’s reverence for the novel is actually a bit of a hindrance after a while: He makes such liberal use of Fitzgerald’s stirring prose (at times, quotes from the book dance across the screen as Nick Carraway types) that almost every frame makes you think, 'What I should really do is re-read this book.' In the end, 'The Great Gatsby' is a decent enough film, undone by its inability to achieve the same level of greatness as the book from which its adapted.

Of course, it’s a bit unfair to knock the new film version for failing to reach the same impressive heights as the novel — one of the greatest in American literature. And 'The Great Gatsby' is actually better than anyone had a right to expect. I’m actually a fan of two of Luhrmann’s earlier films, 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'Strictly Ballroom,' but I wasn’t sure 'The Great Gatsby' would benefit from his flair for excess, anachronistic use of pop music, and big, bold emotional flourishes. Could he capture the subtleties and nuances of Fitzgerald’s book?"

Click here to read the whole thing.

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