Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan capture the extravagance of the Jazz Age in a new trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby.” The film is visually elegant, but plays out against a hip-hop soundtrack. Would F. Scott approve?
The trailer showcases the movie’s set design, cinematography and Luhrmann’s sharp attention to detail. Scenes literally explode on the screen.
The clip also has the look of a big-budget production from Hollywood’s Golden era. But plenty of 21st Century film magic is also used to create the illusion of New York’s Roaring ’20s high society, with all its privileges and excesses.
The trailer is a kaleidoscope of scenes that shows Luhrmann is well aware of the broader themes of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. They involve the conflict between class and money and the breakdown of social barriers and mores following World War I.
Like his previous films, 1996’s “Romeo + Juliet,” also with DiCaprio and Claire Danes and 2001’s “Moulin Rouge!” with Nicole Kidman, Luhrmann likes to deconstruct classics and present them in a contemporary way so movie-goers can relate to the stories.
That seems to explain the director’s decision go with a rap and contemporary pop tunes soundtrack instead of some of the classic jazz the Roaring ’20s was known for. Hopefully it works. Judging from the trailer, the movie has plenty of sweep to justify the big sound.
Beyonce stars with her haunting rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Husband Jay-Z produced the soundtrack and also enlisted Lana Del Rey and Florence + The Machine.
Of course, the movie will ultimately be judged against the 1974 adaptation starring Robert Redford as Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy. The film won two Academy Awards, but only for Best Costume Design and Best Music.
DiCaprio and Mulligan are elegant as star-crossed lovers Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Toby McGuire does a credible job as the writer Nick Carraway, who stays in Gatsby’s guest house and narrates the movie.
Joel Edgerton is a slightly less convincing Tom Buchanan, especially compared to Bruce Dern in the 1974 movie.
If there is any criticism, it’s Luhrmann’s penchant for over-producing, which was so evident in “Moulin Rouge!” But if that’s the biggest fault “The Great Gatsby” should be a hell of a ride.
The movie opens May 10. Check out the trailer below and let us know our thoughts. And, follow TheImproper on Twitter.