I am excited for ONE movie coming out that was supposed to come out this holiday season but has recently been pushed back to summer 2013, and it is Baz Luhrmann’s take on the Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby. Hollywood has been spitting out nothing but reboots and sequels for the past few years, but this particular adaptation appears to be something special.
First off, the mashup of Jay-Z and Kanye over images of Jazz Age New York makes for a jarring but stunning visual. I’ve always been a fan of mixing modern with classic, and here Luhrmann creates a spectacular image in the first few seconds of his trailer with a surprisingly appropriate song.
One reason why Luhrmann is one of my favorite directors is because he’s not afraid of style. Elaborate costumes, dramatic lighting and fast editing are bold stylistic choices for a filmmaker, but they all serve the narrative of the film. Some arthouse directors get too carried away with their French New Wave jump cuts and unnecessary camera movements that they lose sight of their original story, and end up with a beautiful turd of a movie. But not Luhrmann. Even in Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, he never lost sight of the overarching narrative, and all of his style choices were in service of his story.
Gatsby has a lot going for it. Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire all look promising. I’m a little disappointed about the pushed back release date, as it could have decimated this holiday season. But with costumes by Miuccia Prada and jewelry by Tiffany & Co., Luhrmann has the potential to scoop up dozens of Oscar nominations next year with story, style, and spectacle.