Gatsby still great, insists Baz Luhrmann

Reception of The Great Gatsby a mixed bag

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s the film everyone’s talking about, apart from some of the critics that is, but that hasn’t deterred The Great Gatsby director, Baz Luhrmann, from being mightily chuffed with his work: “I just care that people are going out and seeing it.”

So there! But why hasn’t the Aussie taken any notice of the nasty men, especially when one hack went so far as to write that the movie was a ‘crushing disappointment’? Is the Moulin Rouge man just putting a brave face on things? It looks like he has found solace in the fact that the novel’s author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, also got a bit of a hard time: “He was horrendously criticised when the book came out,” said Luhrmann. “He was called a clown and his characters [were described] as marionettes, shallow.” Sounds like the Baz-meister is in good company!

Should he be worried? According to experts, definitely not, because although The Great Gatsby has found itself in the rather unfortunate position of competing with the astronomically successful Iron Man 3, those in the know realise that superhero sequels are nailed-on for greatness. Gatsby, on the other hand, was considered by many to be a genuine risk, especially as several big-screen adaptations had failed in the past. True, Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most bankable stars on the planet, but then again the 1974 version did cast Robert Redford and Mia Farrow in the lead roles – could there have possibly been a better pairing than that?!

But seeing as this is a story all about the money, it’s time to talk box-office! The Great Gatsby currently sits in a respectable third place in terms of this year’s biggest opening weekends, behind Iron Man 3 and Oz the Great and Powerful, and ranks as DiCaprio’s second highest, with Inception remaining top dog. As it cost an estimated $105m to make, the opening weekend’s tally of around $51m might seem like small change, but this was much higher than anticipated.

Any film that is nominated to open the world-famous Cannes Film Festival, which this year runs until May 26th, must be worth its salt, but even here the reception has been decidedly lukewarm. For the romantics out there though, it’s not all bad news, as Fitzgerald wrote part of the novel whilst staying at the French Riviera. I’m not usually superstitious, but…

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