Out & About

May 16, 2013

'Gatsby' appeals to broad crowd

There are many who treasure “The Great Gatsby” as one of the classic works of American literature.

Then there are the rest of us, who have nothing but vaguely unfond memories of the book from high school.

Somewhat surprisingly, director Baz Luhrmann’s opulent adaptation of the novel should have some appeal for both of those groups.

“The Great Gatsby” is excessive, without question, but it’s vibrant and visually dazzling, too. Despite the excesses, it’s literate and intelligent, and remains fairly true to the book — though the Jay-Z soundtrack might have caused a bit of a furor in the actual Roaring ‘20s.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who throws wild, extravagant parties at his gorgeous New York mansion. While everyone who’s anyone is enjoying his hospitality, Gatsby is strangely unaffected. He is, it turns out, carrying the mother of all torches.

Tobey Maguire plays Gatsby’s neighbor, Nick Carraway, a wide-eyed innocent and would-be writer whose cousin Daisy happens to be the target of Gatsby’s affection.

DiCaprio is up for the role as the charismatic Gatsby, giving him a dash of both bravado and doubt, though Oscar talk will likely remain just that. DiCaprio is a fine actor, but on occasion his performances seem too much like acting; this is one of those occasions, old sport.

Mulligan is fine as the doe-eyed Daisy, emotionally conflicted and married to a wealthy, philandering lug (Joel Edgerton), though we never see much below the surface of her character.

Similarly, Maguire is suitable as Nick, Gatsby’s only real friend, but we never really get attached to his character.

Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”) fills the movie to overflowing with colors and sound and smack-you-over-the-head symbolism. Unlike the 1974 Robert Redford version, this one will never be described as sluggish.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Steve Ouellette's Movie Reviews

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Entertainment Videos
Adam Levine Launches Clothing Line for Women Paul Wesley Sinks His Teeth Into Directing Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Josh Thompson Streams Album to Hook New Fans Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast ShowBiz Minute: Singer, Young, Poehler Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Nas Movie Opens Tribeca Film Festival Zooey Deschanel Adds Designing to Her Repertoire Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show 'Half of a Yellow Sun' Hits the Big Screen Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Swift's Bus Drives Into Country Hall of Fame ShowBiz Minute: Cyrus, Walker, Combs Pedro Pascal Plays 'Game of Thrones'' Red Viper Deeley Shows Acting Chops in Hulu's 'Deadbeat' Ora Strips Efron at MTV Awards ShowBiz Minute: MTV Awards, Lopez, Royals Stars Hit Red Carpet for MTV Movie Awards Conan Backs Colbert, Hosts MTV Movie Awards
CVPH Job Opportunities