Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby is almost here (only a few months behind schedule), and it looks amazing. Re-imagining quite possibly the greatest American novel, is no small feat. Just ask Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley. However, the man up for the task is the same one who set quite possibly the greatest play of all-time to the silver screen. And this is why I believe that after many tries, this version of The Great Gatsby will be the definitive version.
And while his version of Romeo and Juliet was a bit corny and incredibly over-the-top, and Gatsby looks incredibly over-the-top, that is Luhrmann's style. Luhrmann's famed "Red Curtain Trilogy," consisting of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!, all use similar film-making tropes, and Gatsby looks no different.
This is not the first time Gatsby is being adapted for cinema, but the sixth attempt at recreating this classic novel. But what keeps bringing filmmakers back to the same story? In my opinion, it is the inability to "get it right," so to speak. Books have been adapted into movies for decades; however, they have worked to limited success. Some books almost feel like they were created to be adapted. In others, the fictional world that only the words on a page and your imagination can create are more than good enough.
For years, Gatsby was one of those books. But maybe now, after seeing trailer after trailer, I believe that the technology and the right collection of people have come together to perfect this American classic. Through the modern economic outlook, one of desperation for many and a life of excess for few, do we see a similar paradigm to what played out with Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. From only the brief snippets of the film I have seen, you get a feeling that captures the Roaring 20s in a way previous films have been unable to, while also giving the film a sleek, modern feel.
Bridging the gap of imagination and reality is both the story of the book as well as the filmmakers job. When the film premieres at the Cannes Film Festival and everywhere on May 10, we will see whether this film is all glitz with no substance or if the greatest American novel has a great film to accompany it. Judging by the trailers, I'll bet that it's the latter.