A lavish but long version of classic novel

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. (PA/Warner Home Video)
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. (PA/Warner Home Video)

F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ is brought to full glittering, technicolour life in Baz Lurhmann’s lavish adaptation.

Mysterious war hero Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in a bay-side mansion with a menagerie of servants, who help him throw the most extravagant parties for the whole of New York.

Lowly stockbroker Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who lives next door, is drawn into Gatsby’s orbit and falls under his neighbour’s spell. As the stockbroker is granted admission to the millionaire’s inner circle, he discovers heartbreak in Gatsby’s past linked to Nick’s cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan), who lives across the bay with her philandering husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton).

Past and present collide and jealousy poisons friendships, pitting Tom against Gatsby for Daisy’s brittle affections. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a visually sumptuous but overlong adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a razzle dazzle of gorgeous costumes, jaw-dropping set design and directorial brio that effortlessly evokes the excesses of swinging 1920s New York.

Whirling camerawork and explosions of retina-searing colour embolden every impeccably crafted frame, bejewelled with dream-bubble flashbacks, slow-motion swoops and a blizzard of typewriter letters that fall into the words of the voiceover narration. DiCaprio inhabits his central role with conviction but sparks of screen chemistry with Mulligan fail to ignite.

Relative newcomer Debicki is far more captivating, shimmying through every frame with a twinkle in her eye that is missing from the rest of the cast. Rip away the luxurious and gaudy packaging, and ‘The Great Gatsby’ is reduced to an emotionally undernourished romance that fails to tug the heartstrings even with Craig Armstrong’s score swelling and swooning in all of the right places.

‘The Great Gatsby’ (Cert 12, 143 mins, Warner Home Video, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/3D Blu-ray £26.99/Limited Edition Steelbook 3D Blu-ray £28.99).

Also released this week, ‘Monsters University’, ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘The Internship’ and ‘Easy Money’. Look out for more reviews in next week’s edition of ‘The Guide’. You can also e-mail your thoughts on the latest releases to @ACPGuide and check out the online edition at www.wow247.co.uk.