Sometimes trailers are better than the actual movie. Watch reality TV if you need proof. Or, if watching talentless 20-somethings scream at each other for no reason isn’t your bag, take a close look at the international trailer for The Great Gatsby.
Among uber lush images of Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan flapping around in an art deco wonderworld, and epic music from the likes Kanye and other contemporary juggernauts, what is there to glean? Very little, but such is the wont of internationally acclaimed director Baz Luhrmann.
Luhrmann is the same indulgent filmmaker that brought us Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and the definitive white guilt film from down under, Australia. Luhrmann paints with the broad strokes, combining old fashion melodrama and time-bending stylization with an array of gaudy camera and editing tricks. He’s the Michael Bay of tear-jerkers, to the delight of girls everywhere. This time, however, this source material and top billing actors are so huge that they are distracting the public from an essential piece of knowledge: Luhrmann is helming this film, and it may be a sedative to anyone who isn’t captivated by the slow moving character development and pretty pictures.
You remember read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous book, right? Part one: Gatsby’s rich and famous. Part two: Wait, maybe he isn’t who he says he is. Part three: drama ensues. This central plot is well captured in the trailer, but it is misleading to a moviegoer who expects an epic, American rags to riches tale like Blow, Goodfellas, or Scarface. Gatsby can’t ever be Tony Montana. Gatsby represents the suspicious attitude of legitimate institutions in a capitalist society; Tony represents the greedy dreams of the downtrodden immigrant American male. And, in case the only thing you know about Scarface is from samples and YouTube clips, I would like to notify you that Scarface is not actually the classic that rappers paint it out to be — in fact, it is quite slow at times.
So, manage your expectations, moviegoers. What we do know is Gatsby is going to be two and a half hours long. What I’m guessing is it will have lots of anachronistic music and ridiculous CGI crane shots. There will probably a scene or three where Leo breaks down — he does that as well as any leading man. Gatsby could be great, but not really. I bet my two cents it’ll be like the Les Miserables, but without Russell Crowe trying to sing.