Saturday, 15 December 2018

You can’t beat a flapper girl for real female film fantasy

DOWN in Cannes, the gigantic faces of Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan have been gazing down on the Hollywood glitterati

DOWN in Cannes, the gigantic faces of Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan have been gazing down on the Hollywood glitterati all week as they wander along the boulevard past the Carlton Hotel on their way to a champagne launch.

This is the fourth celluloid incarnation of what is often cited as the greatest work of American fiction by F Scott Fitzgerald. His wife, the indomitable flapper girl Zelda, apparently walked out of the première of the first ever version in 1927 saying it was “rotten and awful and terrible”. That film has been lost forever, but the following two — a 1949 film noir and the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow — failed also to live up to expectations. It would be fascinating to know what Zelda would think of this latest attempt by Australian director Baz Luhrmann.

Luhrmann is the man who brought us Romeo + Juliet — also starring DiCaprio — in full Shakespearean lingo but with fireball explosions at the gas station and a camp, black Mercutio. In The Great Gatsby he brings us a similar combination of old and new. Once again he has stayed true to the orginal text and his lavish recreation of Twenties New York society has plenty of period references including Art Deco props and stylish Charleston outfits. But the music blaring from the gramophone in a lavish party scene is by rapper Kanye West.

Early reviews from America are mixed, but there’s no doubt this film will do well at the box office when it opens this weekend, because there’s nothing we girls like more for our dose of cinematic fantasy than a costume drama with plenty of glitz and glamour. And if it happens to be set in the Roaring Twenties, so much the better.

Film: The Great Gatsby

Certificate: (12A)

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton

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