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Gatz, where actors playing office workers read The Great Gatsby in its entirety over seven hours, has been an Off Broadway sensation. Clocking in at 2 minutes and 28 seconds, the trailer for The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann, has been a web sensation–but for somewhat different reasons, as the majority of film critics rise in comdemnation. (It’s trending better with others who promise to read the book now.)

After the epic fail of Australia (2008), Baz is back, reunited with the star of his Romeo and Juliet (1996), Leonardo DiCaprio. And all that Bazness is back–the glitz, the glamor, the pacing, the music–this time applied to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age masterpiece. So what if Leo looks like he was a little overcooked on the tanning bed? That Carey Mulligan seems a bit…retouched? Baz is going to make the Twenties roar again. Borne back ceaselessly into CGI, his Gatsby smells of money.

For others, it just smells. But, c’mon: which suddenly defensive film critic who swooned over The Avengers or The Hunger Games has read the CliffsNotes since high school? Then again, Alan Ladd in 1949, Robert Redford and Mia Farrow in 1974, and Mira Sorvino–Mira Sorvino!–in 2000 on TV were all flummoxed by it, which might have told Baz something.

But that’s the challenge for Baz, who I met, and quite liked, in 2001 when he was touting Moulin Rouge! (He was soon to bring his stunning La Boheme, his finest two hours, to Broadway.) Look for his passionate defense to begin soon. (“Zelda would have loved 3D.”) The Great Gatsby opens Christmas Day–where it will face Leo in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

About the Author

Bob Cashill

An Editorial Board Member of Cineaste magazine, Bob is also a member of the Drama Desk theatrical critics society in New York. See what he's watching on Letterboxd and read more from him at New York Theater News.

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