There are solid but unexceptional performers by all the major players. (Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, Toby Maguire.) Luhrmann’s critics claim that Luhrmann himself is always the star of his own shows! Some changes have been made to both the plot and to the characters –Nick’s narrative is delivered to his psychiatrist who encourages him to write as part of his therapy! Gatsby’s father does not appear at his funeral and Wilson is so filthy and stupid as to be almost entirely unworthy of our sympathy! Myrtle is more bawdy than voluptuously seductive.
All told, the film lacks the political bite of the novel! The Daisy-Gatsby love story is primary and any political allegory is secondary if not entirely absent! F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is a marvellous and witty satire of 1920’s America – a bitter indictment of the concept of the ‘American Dream’. Luhrmann may purposefully have chosen to play down this element of the novel – commercial necessity usually trumps artistic endeavour in Hollywood!