It is apparent from the beginning of Baz Luhrmann’s most recent film, The Great Gatsby, that the movie will be a polarizing feature. Taking on the most famous work of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, Luhrmann’s visually magnificent and aurally hip version of the book is avant-garde, to say the least. While there are underlying flaws that come with the territory of translating such a nuanced novel to the big screen, the flashy sounds and visuals allow it to shine as an enjoyable feature.
The Great Gatsby takes on themes of love, greed and corruption of the American Dream in the jazz age of New York City. A young transplant, Nick Carraway, narrates his summer spent befriending his dazzlingly wealthy neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and his subsequent disillusionment with the New York elite. It’s a timeless classic, but this is a Gatsby unlike any other. There have been adaptations before, but none quite as sexy. Flashy cars, a soundtrack that blends twenties swing with modern rap and party scenes that are oddly reminiscent of those on a college campus combine to yield a much younger version of the book read by many in high school literature classes. At the same time, however, Luhrmann stays true to the story; most dialogue is straight from the novel, and plot-wise, he follows the book rather well. Carraway’s romantic life is ignored, but the sad pensiveness of the novel is retained as well as much of the main action.