What’s left to say? Four Fitzgerald scholars tell us what works and what doesn’t in Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. John Irwin doesn’t hold back:
If one were to list the stupid moments in the film, moments reflecting the director’s and/or screen writers’ wrong-headed decisions, the list would be almost interminable. The first half of the movie, which concentrates on depicting Gatsby’s possessions, his lavish lifestyle, his parties, is ludicrous. It is so over-the-top that it looks like the aftermath of an explosion in an Art Deco factory. An experienced film viewer with a memory that goes back further than 10 years knows that when a film places so much emphasis on what Hollywood calls “production values” (lavish sets, 3-D color, special effects, a soundtrack that mixes 1920s recordings with contemporary hip-hop) someone somewhere (either the studio or the filmmaker) has lost faith either in the human value of its story to move the audience or in the emotional maturity or empathy of that audience.