|I know you have anal fissures my dear.|
I'll be gentle with the butt plug tonight.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
NO STARS LOW ENOUGH, BUT I HAPPILY BESTOW 1 (ONE) PUBIC HAIR UPON IT
Dir. Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Amitabh Bachchan
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Have you seen Scary Movie 5? No? Well get thee to a multiplex pronto. I can promise you a far more edifying experience than suffering through Baz Luhrmann's rectal drippings masquerading as a movie. If Luhrmann had wanted to do a greater disservice to F. Scott Fitzgerald than miserably adapting The Great Gatsby, he'd have been better off digging up Zelda Fitzgerald's corpse and penetrating her withered maggot-lubed anus, whilst having the whole unsightly affair videotaped and posted to YouTube.
This is the sort of movie I get no pleasure in writing about. It's so awful, I'm not even inspired to expose its failings with humour. (Terence Malick's kind of stolen that crown anyway.) Luhrmann's Gatsby is unequivocally the nadir of his rancid career - one in which he's crapped out a canon that represents one smelly nadir after another (each one resplendent with pieces of undigested niblets of corn). This utter abomination is so reprehensible you wish to God there was some way to wash the sheer filth of it from your memory banks, but alas, I suspect that even a lobotomy would do little to relieve the memory of one of the worst movies ever made. Hell, it might even be the absolute worst ever made - at least, one supposes, until Luhrmann's next film.
|1949 yielded great performances from Alan Ladd and Shelley Winters, whilst 1974 yielded a great supporting cast. Both had dreadful Daisy Buchanans.|
Fitzgerald's novel has been tempting filmmakers forever, but only three (not including a silent 1928 version) have made the plunge and not one of them qualifies as a successful effort. That said, even the deeply flawed 1949 and 1974 versions are veritable masterworks when stacked up against Luhrmann's risible rusty-coat-hanger abortion. The '49 Gatsby, directed with little panache, but a modicum of competence by Elliot Nugent has a few things going for it. Performance-wise it features a great Myrtle played by Shelley Winters, which is, without question, the best rendering of Tom Buchanan's doomed lover to date. It also has the best Gatsby - bar none - the immortal Alan Ladd. And in spite of Nugent's mostly lacklustre direction, Gatsby's murder is the most harrowingly rendered of all of them. Still, one wonders what the studio was thinking when they assigned this film to a director whose biggest picture had been My Favorite Brunette starring Bob Hope.
The bloated 1974 version has an almost perfect supporting cast - notably Sam Waterston's Nick Carraway, the great Bruce Dern as Tom, Karen Black a close second to Winters's indelible portrait of Myrtle and Scott Wilson who delivers a heartbreaking performance as Blanche's long suffering husband and killer of Gatsby. Robert Redford looks right as Gatsby, but he's almost always trying too hard to be multidimensional. Both the '49 and '74 versions have dreadful Daisy Buchanans in the form of Betty Field and Mia Farrow respectively, but one might as well call them perfect compared to the horrid simp Luhrmann cast.
On the surface, The Great Gatsby as a novel has a lot going for it to make a good if not great picture. Its narrative, at least on the surface, is straightforward as all get out with finely detailed characters, a great Tragic Hero and any number of thematic elements evocative of the 20s that have universal resonance. In each case, however, too much conspired against Fitzgerald's novel to yield a genuinely good picture. Nugent was ultimately a lower drawer studio hack and as such the wrong director for the '49 version. As for the '74 picture, the otherwise phenomenal Jack Clayton (he directed Deborah Kerr in the best Henry James film adaptation of all time, The Innocents) seems weighted down by the bloat force of the insanely opulent production.
And Baz Luhrmann?
Well, he is, quite simply, a dolt.
|Is Borat here? I need some learnings.|
Nothing works in Gatsby 2013. DiCaprio had everything going for him to knock the ball out of the park, but lacking a director and forced to act with a supporting cast lacking chemistry and charisma to connect with him on even the most rudimentary level (save for the brilliant Amitabh Bachchan as Meyer Wolfsheim), poor Leo is doomed to a fate almost as bad as anal penetration with a red hot poker. Tobey Maguire was a genuinely fine Peter Parker/Spider-Man for Sam Raimi, but here his boyish voice is so castrato-like that Nick Carraway becomes intolerable to pay any attention to. Joel Edgerton has done great work in the past, particularly in Animal Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty, but his Tom Buchanan borders on the idiotic as he inexplicably slips in and out of a Clark Gable impersonation. Isla Fisher is thoroughly inadequate as Myrtle as is Jason Clarke as her Gatsby-whacking hubby.
|Can someone skull fuck me in the eyes?|
But now, as bad as the aforementioned cast is, let's take special care to heap a truckload or two of dung on the horridly simp-like Carey Mulligan who's one of these actresses who can seldom keep her mouth closed even when she has no lines. It's amazing more flies don't zoom into her maw when she's on-set. Worst of all, she's always dewy eyed - not just here, but in every revolting performance she delivers - most offensively in the ghastly Drive. Yes, Carey, we know you can always be on the verge of tears, but you're so annoying watery-eyed, we all - no doubt - wish to have a turn at smashing you one in the face and then utter the following with contempt: "NOW you DO have something to cry about."
Then again, it's Luhrmann's fault for casting her and we already know he makes the average gibbon seem like a Rhodes Scholar.
His purported style is frustratingly opulent. Luhrmann's offensive over-the-top music video approach is equal to that of an ice cream cone with rainbow coloured sprinkles dipped in arsenic and LSD. None of it makes any sense and never captures what should be the genuine melancholia that seeps from the pores of the rich and empty, so indelibly wrought by Mr. Fitzgerald. It's hallucinogenic and deadly in one fell swoop. His idiotic blending of contemporary music with a few period pieces is so all over the map that it feels like he couldn't completely commit to pulling a Sofia Coppola a la Marie Antoinette and the reason for this is simple - he has no genuine vision, he has nothing to say and, allow me to remind you, he is a dolt of the highest order.
He's no filmmaker. He's a nincompoop.
And his movie is not only a wretched mess, but also a deathly dull, horrendously inert and reprehensibly stupid experience.
"The Great Gatsby" is in wide release from Warner Bros, but I do genuinely re-assert that your money will be better spent at "Scary Movie 5", a risible bomb, but at least its honest about its mental retardation. It's also in 3-D. Why? Beats me. It looks as bad, if not worse than most contemporary 3-D movies.