I know, Leo, I’m sad, too. Sad that a movie with so much potential tanked so hard. The overload of slow motion glitter (literally) and violently bright everything wasn’t enough to mask the fact that the directors and actors were not capable of making this movie translate onto screen.
The things that worked:
Tom Buchanan, that is all.
Things that didn’t work:
The dialogue, plain and simple. I know it was straight out of the book , but that doesn’t mean it was delivered well.
The fast pace in which the actors, camera, and speech all moved. It’s obvious Baz Luhrmann was trying to give the film the appeal of a 1920’s flick, moving in fluttery fast motion. This left actors slurring over one another and spitting lines like venom. They were so ridiculous and pointed that it felt much more like watching a play. Why shouldn’t it seem like a play? Because it is not one, simply put.
Myrtle. I could have acted Myrtle better than Myrtle did. And I’m not an actor.
Nick. I always pictured Nick very, very different than Tobey Maguire depicted him. While Nick was swept away in the ocean of West Egg, he wasn’t oblivious. The entire book he was passive, yes, but still deduced so much in his mind about what he was witnessing. Tobey Maguire, for the most part, walked around the flashy set like a starry eyed five year old. Like this…
And lastly, the soundtrack. If I was listening to it on it’s own, sure. That’s probably why it was the number one purchased album for a while there.And that is impressive. But, that’s not the point of the soundtrack. The job of the soundtrack is to accompany the film in a way that amplifies the emotion of the movie. It didn’t work. Despite their best efforts, the new age music just didn’t blend with the flapper feel, no matter how glitzy it was. The only track that came remotely close to working was “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey, who’s sound is whimsical and vintage. Other than that, you can’t mix Fitzgerald and Fergie. You just can’t.
Again, Tom Buchanan was really great.