The Great Gatsby: Party On, Baz

by Ethan Alter May 10, 2013 8:00 am
<i>The Great Gatsby</i>: Party On, Baz

There are many ways to describe Baz Lurhmann's directing style, but "restrained" sure as hell isn't one of them. From Strictly Ballroom to Australia, each of the Aussie auteur's films embrace emotional and cinematic excess in grand, borderline ridiculous ways. That makes him an unlikely, but also inspired choice to tackle an adaptation of a Great NovelTM like F. Scott's Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, a text so revered that movie versions can become ossified by their own self-importance. That's what happened to the last Gatsby flick, the 1974 Robert Redford/Mia Farrow tour-de-boredom that was so respectful of Fitzgerald's text that it transformed his vibrant novel into a pretty, but inert soap opera.

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