It’s not long before Nick (Tobey Maguire) is invited to one of Gatsby’s extravagant parties, filled with champagnes, Hollywood big shots and all sorts of over-the-top activities. It’s a world filled with disloyalties, excessive drinking and masked identities. And there’s nowhere else anyone would rather be in 1922. Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), no matter how handsome, devilish and wealthy, it turns out, is a lonely individual haunted by his lost love: Daisy (Carey Mulligan). And it’s that passion and Nick’s newfound friendship with Gatsby that leads to the tragedies that cannot be undone.
The Great Gatsby is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who is certainly no stranger to excess, as illustrated in Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! This is not simply a recitation of the text but an interpretation like no other. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great American Novel” has adapted before numerous times, notably in 1974 with Robert Redford as Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway. But this, despite some flaws, is the best.
When it was revealed that Luhrmann would be helming Gatsby, we knew what would come of it. This would be no stale, straight-laced rendition. It would be edited with fast cuts, have sweeping camera movements and be painted with the most colorful tones available. As such, it is a visually stellar achievement, one that captures a time lost long ago and introduces it in 21st-century style.
It doesn’t matter that the soundtrack is less jazz than Jay-Z or that Nick is reciting his tale from an asylum (something not included in Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel). What matters is that Luhrmann took the essentials (everything from the memorable narration and notable plot points to the green light and “old sport” camaraderie) and made it his own without losing the meaning.
This version of Gatsby will give some headaches. Some will call it an atrocity. It’s not the Gatsby one pictures when they read the novel. We have to accept that that version will never be made, which is a far greater compliment to Fitzgerald than any cinematic retelling could be.
“Within and Without” by Tobey Maguire (8:41): This piece shows Maguire shooting his own personal behind-the-scenes footage.
The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby (12:17): This featurette looks at the music and soundtrack, which includes the likes of Jay-Z, Jack White and Lana Del Rey.
The Jazz Age (15:43) touches on life in the 1920s.
Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the ‘20s (16:22) focuses on the costumes in the film, which were designed by Catherine Martin, who won two Oscars for her work on Moulin Rouge!
Fitzgerald’s Visual Poetry (6:55): Here, Luhrmann and Martin discuss how they created a look and style for the film.
Gatsby Revealed explores five standout sequences: Gatsby’s Party (7:12), Disconcerting Ride (4:53), Daisy and Gatsby Meet (7:49), The Plaza (4:26), and Pool Scene (5:47).
Deleted Scenes (14:24): There are three here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Nick & Jordan,” “Her Voice Was Full of Money” and “Alternate Ending.”
1926 The Great Gatsby Trailer
Also included are a DVD, Digital Copy and UltraViolet.