Film Review: The Great Gatsby

Reviewed by Sam Robinson

Rated M. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan. Available now on DVD & Blu-Ray.

[Stars: 3.5/5]

Gatsby. Gatsby. Who is Gatsby?

Well – I’ve seen the trailers so I know it’s Leonardo DiCaprio.

But this is the question Baz Luhrmann’s latest film The Great Gatsby spends a full 30 minutes asking until he is revealed. The suave, mysterious Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) appears to neighbour Nick (Maguire) at a party amidst fireworks and countless servants at his beck and call.

Yes, this is New York in the 1920s and everyone loves to party, splash cash around, and dance to Jay Z. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic (which I’ve never read) this is a story about a very rich man with a very big metaphorical mask.

I’ve never been a big fan of Luhrmann’s films. This is mainly due to the extravagant style, the rapid zooms, and the technicolor dazzle. But for Gatsby, I was really quite surprised that I enjoyed it. DiCaprio is intriguing as the erratic Gatsby who will stop at nothing to pursue lost love Daisy (Mulligan). The sets and costumes are well designed and there are a stack of fantastic Australian actors involved – just keep your eyes peeled.

As I mentioned, *SPOILER ALERT* it doesn’t take long to see that Gatsby isn’t the real deal. He claims to be this guy with a never-ending supply of coin and fans galore. But as the film unravels, we see that he is a very different person to that facade.

This reminded me of the way that when Jesus came to earth he made some pretty big claims about who he was too. Toward the end of Mark’s gospel, Jesus is placed on trial.

But He kept silent and did not answer anything. Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus, “and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?”

And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

– Mark 14:61-64

Jesus was accused of blasphemy by stating he was the Son of God, and was condemned by the officials. But his claims were true. No mask. No facade – and he proved it because he rose from the dead. He was and is exactly who he said he was. If you’re unsure about this, why not read all of Mark’s gospel? It’s a great place to start investigating these claims.

The Great Gatsby isn’t perfect, and it is very long, but it tells a classic story of corruption. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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