Bottom Line: At 143 minutes, this ambitiously kinetic and yet exhaustingly overwrought iteration of the literary F. Scott Fitzgerald classic felt like it might take longer to watch than to actually read said novel. We’re offered up plenty of cinematic eye candy, solid, award-worthy turns from DiCaprio and Edgerton (not so much from Mulligan and Maguire…especially Maguire who seems out of his league here; I’ll say it…he’s virtually charisma-free) and a few scenes that do work as the movie semi-effectively grapples with a story of thwarted love. The rest, however, is an overblown patchwork of discarded/more relevant themes (moral decay and the corruption of the American dream), spark-free melodramatic romanticism and an overhyped soundtrack (produced by Jay Z) that - like the majority of this movie – fleetingly fades away instead of seamlessly standing out… With all of its lavishness and materialistic jubilance on display, THE NOT-SO-GREAT GATSBY is little more than a flat, forced and rarely fun affair.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann (MOULIN ROUGE, ROMEO + JULIET and AUSTRALIA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Story: "The Great Gatsby" follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles. -- (C) WB