Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Movie News

Daredevil Debuts A Season 2 Poster
Concept art heads to NYCC
Terminator Genisys Producer Says The Franchise Is ''Re-Adjusting''
Dana Goldberg insists plans are not on hold indefinitely
The Good Lie's Philippe Falardeau Directing The Bleeder
Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts still on board the boxing drama
Disney's Moana Finds Its Lead Voice
Aula'i Carvalho will play the young explorer
Lex Luthor Makes The Fortune 500
Jesse Eisenberg's archvillain finds fame
Sony Plans A Danger Mouse Movie
Ooh crikey!
More Movie News

29 September 2015
New Trailer For The Revenant
Bear vs. DiCaprio
More Movie News

Black Mass
13 November 2015
12 October 2015
More Future Films

Life (2015)
Empire Star Rating
The Gift (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Far From The Madding Crowd (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Rover (2014)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Cannes 2013: The Great Gatsby Screens
Cannes 2013: The Great Gatsby Screens
Baz Luhrmann's film kicks things off

15 May 2013  |  Written by Damon Wise  

submit to reddit

Despite the promise of star wattage and spectacle in Baz Luhrmann's opulent 3D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous tale of fast living in the Roaring Twenties, the Cannes film festival opened to noncommittal shrugs this morning at the first press screening of The Great Gatsby.

As the 143-minute film came to a close there was a respectful silence, followed by a smattering of polite applause after the initial production credits. Surprisingly, there were few boos, a state of affairs that can largely be ascribed to the fact that the film has been screened to most European critics and has already opened in the US, where its healthy opening-weekend figures have not been matched by positive reviews.

As a Cannes opener, The Great Gatsby follows a recent pattern in that it is a mainstream auteur piece from a director with a distinct visual style, much in the same way that Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris did in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

Sadly, Luhrmann's filmmaking is no match for Fitzgerald's subtle prose: when Tobey Maguire's narrator is not literally reading the book aloud (an awkward framing device find his Nick Carraway in rehab, penning his memoirs), Luhrmann is presenting us with literal interpretations of its contents. It was small wonder that in the following press conference the director alluded to the book being “seven hours long”, revealing that he rediscovered it ten years ago as an audio book during a train ride in Siberia.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, the film tells the story of a rich playboy who befriends the penniless writer Carraway in order to get close to the latter's cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), a wealthy socialite Gatsby has been smitten with since the end of the Great War some five years previously. Daisy is married to the aristocratic, womanising Tom (Joel Edgerton), but Gatsby, convinced of her love for him, makes plans to take her away.

It is the stuff of high drama, offering scope for both romance and social comment, but Luhrmann's anything-goes approach applies to almost every aspect of the production. Some scenes are played for laughs, others for pathos, most going for scale with scarcely a thought for subtlety. Indeed, it is a measure of the film's artistic failure that it will drive readers back to Fitzgerald's masterpiece not just to reacquaint themselves with the author's exquisite writing but to get back to its pure, understated essence.

Photos: Alpha Press

The full Empire review of The Great Gatsby is over here and we'll be bringing you all the news, views and reactions from Cannes as it unfolds.

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Cannes 2013: The Jury Speaks!
Steven Spielberg opens the Festival
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)