Now Mr Luhrmann is not known for his restrained filmmaking - just check out Moulin Rouge! and Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman warbling show tunes at each other atop a bejewelled elephant and you'll see what I mean. And F Scott Fitzgerald's jazz-age tale of love and loss and obsession is perhaps one of the most subtlety seductive pieces of literature ever written, so putting the two of them together could so easily have been a match made in Hell. That Luhrmann then chose to over-egg his pudding even more by making the film on a lavish scale in eye-popping 3-D - could have made that match even worse. And for some people it undoubtedly did. I'm not gonna lie to you folks, some people are gonna hate this movie. It's mad, it's manic, it's at times so over-the-top it can make you giddy and it does skirt very close to the edge of completely swamping Fitzgerald's delicate story of doomed love, class conflict and tragic delusion.
But best of all there's Leo DiCaprio's wonderfully brash and yet tortured performance as Jay Gatsby, a man who has reinvented himself and built an empire simply to capture the attention of a woman - spoilt socialite Daisy Buchanan - who only ever really existed in his head. Carey Mulligan doesn't fare quite so well as Daisy, partly I think because in an attempt to make her more sympathetic the character just becomes a rather confusing combination of innocence and calculation. In the book Daisy is pretty vaccuous and self-absorbed - a careless person like all those of her class - in the film we're made to believe she really did love Gatsby, just not enough. But that does kind of leave her motivations hanging during the high melodrama of the final reel.
All in all though, I enjoyed this movie. It's a lavish feast for the eyes, while at the same time being the ultimately tragic tale of a man who has been destroyed by his own delusions. And yes, it's totally Over The Top!! but it is also impossible to ignore. And unlike the recent superman movie, I would highly reccommend seeing this in all its 3-D glory. Seriously, it's like being at a Jazz Age party, and what could be more Presents than that!
Heidi currently has books out in Modern - One Night, So Pregnant - in the UK and Harlequin KISS - Too Close for Comfort - in the US. Her next release is Maid of Dishonor, Book 3 in the fabulous Harlequin KISS quartet The Wedding Season. You can contact her on her blog, website, Facebook or Twitter (@HeidiRomRice).