Playlist gives it a C+
[quote]But for all its passionate feeling and melodrama, ‘Gatsby’ is rarely moving, and that's a major flaw for a movie that drags on for two-and-a-half hours. “The Great Gatsby” is ultimately an epic tragedy, a parable about America, the American dream ethos and its consequences, but the movie’s overblown style chokes the life out of any substance the story may have. And while faithful to Fitzgerald’s novel, some of its themes just don’t track within the movie. Carraway is supposed to be practically besotted with his friend Gatsby. As in the novel, the wide-eyed character is in awe of Gatsby’s “heightened sensitivity to the promises of life…an extraordinary gift for hope…such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.” The problem with such convenient, lofty proverbs ripped from the book is that the movie never actually demonstrates them, so they are not only unbelievable and hard to buy emotionally, but hollow sentiments.
[quote]A kind of visual and sonic overkill, “The Great Gatsby” never knows when to say when. Music-wise the movie is often at its most egregious, the use of the anachronistic modern songs in the movie frequently border on ridiculous. Sure, sprinkles of modern juxtaposition can work (see the films of Quentin Tarantino that seem to pull it off), but near wall-to-wall songs, modern or otherwise, are quickly grating and overbearing. Luhrmann’s stylistic approach to ‘Gatsby’ seems to scream “reeeeemix!” at all times. Jay-Z, the modern hustler, is perhaps the perfect person to pull together the soundtrack to Jay Gatsby, the jazz-age con artist. And while it’s a cute recontextualization of themes, it comes across as a stylistic flourish that lends no substance to the film. Lana del Ray’s obnoxious heartbreak song is played ad nauseum, and the parties! It’s as if Luhrmann is convinced that this age of decadence and debauchery was one big techno pop rave, so why not just pump up the volume and zoom the camera around with shebang, pow, pop and whiz.
[quote]DiCaprio is good, no doubt, even in a role that’s largely unsympathetic (another problem with ‘Gatsby’ is its lack of protagonist as the POV keeps shifting from Carraway back to Gatsby and so forth), but Mulligan is almost a lovelorn stand-in with nothing to do but look troubled in her immaculately tailored costumes. As the arrogant and brute-ish Tom, Edgerton probably has the meatiest role, but he too mostly has to sneer as the haughty villain of the picture. Maguire is such a non-entity, one wonders what his career would do without the "Spider-Man" films.