Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Starring Leonardo di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton
In my review of Life of Pi five months ago, I spoke about the difficulties of adaptation and the snobbery associated with film versions of celebrated works of literature. This becomes all the more magnified when we combine F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the great American novelists, with Baz Luhrmann, one of the world's most divisive filmmakers. But while The Great Gatsby may not quite be great, it is a great deal better than many would have us believe.
Moulin Rouge!, Luhrmann is drawing a parallel between two different periods of Western history, illuminating similarities with the past in order to provoke discussion about the present. In Moulin Rouge! he compared the Bohemian culture of the 1890s with the rave culture of the 1990s, highlighting the similar levels of drug abuse, sexual freedom and potential levels of heartbreak. Christian's reaction at Satine's sudden death from tuberculosis reflects the anguish of anyone who lost their friend to an ecstasy overdose or other such tragedy.
Britannia Hospital as "a tiny minority indulg[ing] themselves in absurd and extravagant luxuries!".
Scarface trap of accidentally celebrating it. On the contrary, Luhrmann uses the indulgence of the characters to draw out the novel's comments about deification and the pursuit of empty gods. Both Daisy and money are deified in the characters' eyes, with neither Tom nor Gatsby being able to see any fault in her. They devote their lives to satisfying both gods through material offerings, Tom by legitimate means, Gatsby by illegal ones. But of course, Daisy isn't perfect, and as both characters realise this their lives steadily crumble, with one being murdered and the other leaving his estate.
Temple of Doom. And much of the film reflects the jaded cynicism of Chinatown, though the car crash is nothing like as earth-shattering as the final four minutes of Polanski's film.