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Adam Truscott Insists “The Great Gatsby” Should Be Called “The Great Leo”

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Oh, Leo. You’ve done it again, old sport.

I remember when you acted Johnny Depp off the screen aged five (ish).

I remember when I hoped you’d show a dark side, and work with my favourite Director. And, true to form, you saw it as a trick question and worked with both of them. Scorsese, check. Tarantino, check.

Then, when I worried you’d retreat into a Howard Hughes state of long nails and long hair, you give us this. The Great Gatsby. A story I should probably know loads about, but knew absolutely nothing. And there you are. Looking dashing in a tuxedo, at the bottom of the stairs again. Flirting with all of the mise en scene Lurhmann can muster – everything minus the fish tank.

And you nailed it, old sport. So much so that I didn’t even notice anyone in the film.

Oh Leo, you old sport.

Gatsby isn’t without its problems. In over two hours it unravels very slowly. And, if my audience is anything to go by, this won’t work for everyone. The film wraps itself into a coil – exploding in a violent outburst in a New York Hotel room that changed everything. Literally everything. But it takes a long time getting there. And that’s just fine by me. Baz has learnt to calm it down a bit. This is a far more mature outing – hinted at in the underrated Australia. Yeah, I’m that guy.

For those wanting Vin Diesel jumping across a bridge from one car to another, it ‘aint for you.

For those wanting villains that aren’t quite as they appear… well it ‘aint for you, either.

But, as 2013 unfolds beautifully, Fast Six, Iron Man 3 and Into Darkness will cater for that crowd.

No. If you end up in Gatsby, you have no excuses. You want dizzying camera. Camp, glorious dress and dance. And you get it. So much so that you might not notice. It’s entirely plausible that this is Lurhmann’s most restrained film. And I’m well aware everything you’ve read outside of this review, if we read the same stuff, is telling you the opposite.

Empire, shove your two star review. Just shove it.

I was moving house when Oz came out. I didn’t get to “review” it. If I did I would have eulogized over its use of 3D. Just stunning. And so complimentary to the medium. I’d applaud its use of black and white turning into whizz bang colour.

Yet here, Luhrmann tops it all. As the film starts we get all of the distributors logos transferred into a faux black and white haze. And, then I started to get excited.I knew what was coming, and he didn’t disappoint…. Lurhmann opens up the screen, and crucially, the 3D. We go into colour and we’re slap bang in the middle of his New York love letter. As much as Moulin Rouge adored Paris, Lurhmann does the same here for NY, NY. And he does it brilliantly.

I’ve never actually been, but anyone knows me knows I share an affinity. Lurhmann shoots it just perfectly. Exactly how I’d like it to be including the middle ground where two pivotal scenes take place. Out there in the depths of mining, of building America, the story really ups a gear./ And Leo’s shadow is all over it. He’s imperious . Clearly I’m a fan. Not many will start a Gatsby “review” with a poem to him.

And it is a poem.

But even if you’re not a fan this will make you reassess. Behind the eyes you’re just left wondering what is going in in his head. And Leo brings that out in spades. Right up to the fantastic last shot, exemplified in 3D, we’re left guessing.

I’m doing a disservice to a decent support cast, of course. There’s no emo from Tobey which is great – will we ever forgive him for that? And there’s very little jazz hands, too. But in a film where he’s meant to narrate to us, and be the most restrained character, Leo outdoes him, too. In the quiet scenes, it’s Leo. When it kicks off. It’s Leo. In the mid scenes, it’s Leo. He’s just captivating. And when he cries himself to bed at night for not feeling loved by the Academy, he had every right. He’s the best Actor of his generation by a country mile. So much so that he puts my Gay For Gosling stance in a bit of a quandary. Because, if we’re honest, Leo would act Gosling off the screen. The thought of them sharing the gorgeous Daisy is just too much.

So that’s that. Another film that’s delivered to me personally in 2013. I know I say it every year but it genuinely has been a great one, thus far.

I don’t expect to see Gatsby at the cinema again. Mrs T won’t like the last twenty minutes. And that’s just fine. Because when the Blu Ray comes out, much like Django Monday, I’ll be pining for it. And the 3D at Home is going to wow the pants off.

I’m off to dance to some Lana Del Ray in the moonlight. Trying to clutch a green light at the end of the pier that’s so close. So close.


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