When I saw that this classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald was being adapted and filmed again, I quickly re-read the book, so it would be fresh in my mind. Directed by the audacious Australian Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge!" and "Strictly Ballroom"), the early scenes are a bit too "Baz" (gaudy and frenetic) but after the story settles in, this is a terrific PG-13 movie. Don't worry about seeing it in 3D because the story is the main thing; both DiCaprio and Mulligan fit their roles to a "T."
In fact, all of this cast is great:
- * Leonardo DiCaprio ("J Edgar" and "Shutter Island") is perfect as Jay Gatsby, the mysterious, phenomenally wealthy resident of West Egg, a location on Long Island. He is a free-wheeling host who throws lavish parties that everyone who is anyone must attend.
- * Carrie Mulligan ("Never Let Me Go" and "Drive") is the tragic Daisy Buchanan, the enchanting mirage from Gatsby's past.
- * Joel Edgerton ("Warrior" and "Kinky Boots") is Tom Buchanan, Daisy's possessive husband: promiscuous, wealthy, and vengeful.
- * Tobey Maguire ("The Details" and "Labor Day") is Nick Carraway, our alter ego, he narrates the story and represents our point of view. His cottage is next door to Gatsby's mansion, so he becomes a friend. By the way, Daisy is his cousin.
- * Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers" and "Rango") is Myrtle, Tom Buchanan's lover. She lives over a service station on the road to New York City.
- * Jason Clarke ("Zero Dark Thirty" and "Lawless") is George Wilson, the guy we come to pity. It's his wife Myrtle who is the catalyst for the story.
It's nice to see Luhrmann use his fellow Aussies in this one. Edgerton, Fisher and Clarke all hail from Down Under, as do many other supporting cast members. In addition, this splendid film was shot entirely in Australia. Good on ya, mate!