The purists have had their knives sharpened for months, and now that Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s canonical novel is finally here, the dissection and disembowelment can begin. This bombastic super-production is certainly its own strange beast: bluntly effective as melodrama, vividly colourful in its stereoscopic grandeur, never a dull moment - you just have to accept that the themes undergirding Fitzgerald’s precise prose (the bracing critiques of wilfully blind idealism and Jazz Age excess) have been squashed by overproduced spectacle. That’s a bit of a backbreaking proviso.

A seductive skin remains: Embittered narrator Nick Carraway (Maguire), self-made romantic Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) and flighty flapper Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) move with great ease through the story’s tragic-romantic beats. Yet while the book’s metaphorical signposts all appear, and Fitzgerald’s text is often spoken verbatim, there’s something crucial missing. You can trace it to Luhrmann’s overblown aesthetic: The anachronistic pop-music cues, digitally augmented tracking shots and disco globe glittery production design don’t recreate the headiness of early 20th century New York so much as invent a billowy fantasy otherworld in the gauzy vein of Twilight. Shorn of its American roots, a biting tale of adult extravagance becomes insubstantially tween-aged.

The Great Gatsby

Genre: Drama, Romance
Duration: 143 mintues
Released: May 16th
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Amitabh Bachchan, Steve Bisley, Richard Carter, Jason Clarke, Adelaide Clemens
Language: English
Classification: 15+
The Great Gatsby
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