Critics are panning Baz Luhrman’s The Great GATSBY.
“Luhrmann’s vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he’s less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste.” – David Denby,The New Yorker
How many flappers make a flop? Baz Luhrmann sucks the life out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s immortal novel and replaces it with empty filigree and overbearing style.” –Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
“If you read The Great Gatsby and thought it was boring, now there’s a movie to help you defend your position.” – Eric D. Snyder, Twitch
Um, news flash, critics: Baz tried the whole “serious Hollywood movie” last time, with 2008’s Australia, and it flopped. Epically. GASTBY (and yes, I’m going to be writing GATSBY in all caps, because if Moulin Rouge! gets an exclamation point, GATSBY gets all caps) represents a return to Baz’s roots.
This is the man who masterminded Moulin Rouge!, one of the greatest films of the century. The man who made straight- up Shakespeare cool again with Romeo+ Juliet. The man who brought the wonders of Australian cinema to the States with Strictly Ballroom.
Australia flopped for a reason. For all its lush cinematography and historical epic-ness, it lacked the youthful energy that made Baz’s Red Curtain trilogy so successful. The pop music, the jumpy editing, the outrageously lavish production design, the sugar rush- you can’t find that in any old movie. With Australia, Baz threw his auteur filmmaking style by the wayside and by all means sold out to American critics.
And now Baz is back, collaborating with Jay-Z and Lana Del Ray and making hip- hop songs sound ragtime. Beyonce is on the soundtrack. Beyonce! She’s golden right now.
Even if critics can’t see the light at the end of the Jazz Age, companies like Tiffany’s, Brooks Brothers and Trump Hotels have already jumped on the bandwagon. The New Yorker, for all its bite, ran a series of 1920’s ads. Brooks Brothers has a line of 20’s style suits for gents, and Trump Hotel in New York is offering a Great Gatsby package that includes a magnum of champagne and Art Deco cufflinks. And GATSBY hype is all over the Internet. Daisy’s Cardio Dance has put together a Great Gatsby workout, and Huffpost has a guide to throwing a Gatsby- themed wedding. My high school’s prom theme is GATZ-B, for crying out loud.
So what if GATBSY is a tasteless, talentless romp? So what if Leo DiCaprio should’ve quit his acting career in 1997 before he depressed the whole world with his filmography? So what if Tobey McGuire? (yes, that was the sentence I meant to type).
I love it. I haven’t even seen it and I love it.
GATSBY hits theaters FRIDAY, MAY 10. The soundtrack is out now and steaming here.