May 24, 2012

Baz Luhrmann releases decadent new trailer for upcoming Gatsby film


Screenshot from the upcoming film The Great Gatsby, starring (left to right) Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton

The first trailer for director Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was released this week, and it certainly looks intriguing. The parties at Gatsby’s mansion, described in such detail by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are fittingly decadent and over-the-top, which should come as no surprise to anybody familiar with Luhrmann’s previous films, particularly the ball scene in Romeo + Juliet and…well, just about every scene in Moulin Rouge.

The casting, for the most part, seems pretty spot-on too. Leonardio DiCaprio is a natural to play the charming and mysterious title character, and Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton look like the perfect Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Only Tobey Maguire seems out of place, perhaps overly earnest and ordinary for Luhrmann’s sleek and stylized aesthetic, though maybe that’s in keeping with narrator Nick Carraway’s character. In fact, this capture from the trailer (above & to the right) succinctly sums up the relationships between the principal characters: Daisy clings to Tom but is drawn to Gatsby, as Nick stands behind them, disconnected but observant.

The combination of the lavish Jazz Age scenery with the music of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Jack White is somewhat jarring, but this is typical of Luhrmann. Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge were both heavily anachronistic, with gun-toting LA gangs speaking Shakespeare’s lines in the former and Parisians of the Belle Epoque singing songs by Sting and Madonna in the latter. It’s obviously too soon to judge the film definitively, but from the looks of it, Luhrmann is playing to his strengths, even if he is resorting to the unfortunate fad of producing the film in 3D. Hopefully his knack for lush visuals will prevent the 3D from being a distracting nuisance as it has been in far too many instances.



Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.