CLOSER LOOK: 'The Great Gatsby' Trailer Aims For Baz Luhrmann's Best
Now that the long-awaited first trailer for director Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire, has been released, fans are searching for clues as to whether Gatsby will be another hit, like Moulin Rouge, or another flop, like Australia. Fortunately, fate may be on our side, given that Luhrmann has decided to tackle one of the greatest American novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
From the glimpse the trailer provides, The Great Gatsby promises to be as splendid and somber as its literary counterpart. It also seems to tie in Luhrmann’s signature modern-music thread to the equation which is stirring up a bit of controversy given the 1920’s era story line. Nevertheless, here we are—biting our nails in anticipation to see if DiCaprio can out-match Robert Redford, who played Gatsby in the widely panned 1974 adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Watch the trailer here, and read below for our closer look:
00:10: Jay-Z and Kayne West's “No Church in the Wild” opens. OK, not expecting that. We still envision the harping tunes of '20s jazz. We push it aside — Romeo + Juliet wove in that same modern theme and managed to make us swoon all the same. We give it a shot, because it’s DiCaprio and Luhrmann again and we’d basically entrust them with our soul if asked. “The tempo of the city had changed sharply,” says Tobey Maguire’s voiceover. Well, it sure has.
00:18 Nick Carraway (Maguire) slowly merges us in through lulling descriptions: flappers and drunken escapades; vintage cars and a sprawling mansion. We’re introduced to Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) who’s a bit taller and gawkier than imagined, but still fits the bill. We mull over these miniscule revisions to the Fitzgerald original and succumb to the fact that it’s basically on par.
00:35 We see Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) and her soft, southern voice ask “Gatsby? What Gatsby?” And then, ah yes, the iconic shot of Jay Gatsby (Dicaprio) in the window overlooking his party’s guests. Alright, we’re more impressed now; all the key notes are ringing. We wet our lips with anticipation.
00:54 To the sound of rain hitting the windows Daisy and Gatsby meet. She is flawless and delicate, he is soaked and breathless; our hearts pound. Gatsby quietly stumbles out a response: “I’m certainly glad to see you as well.” Swoon. It’s 1996 all over again.
01:00 “From the Director of” credits remind us (via a very appropriately jazzy font) of who you’re dealing with. Jack White’s “Love is Blindness,” plays, and all our initial prejudices begin to dissolve. Take us away, Luhrmann.
01:15 Shots of decadent early 20th century architecture are flashed, in delicious and opulent glory. Spotted amongst clips of debauchery we catch a woman dive into a pool (perhaps Daisy into the iconic Gatsby pool?). We foreshadow the climax. To the heartache we are knowingly omitting from memory. And, given Lurhmann’s reputation, it will drench our core in its bitter sweetness.
01:30 The images then begin to leave West Egg (or East Egg, or North, South, or Hard Boiled who can remember clearly at this point) and into the Valley of Ashes—the grizzled wasteland. Daisy’s husband Tom fashioned with a look that is just as mean and heartless as we remembered. The tension in our blood builds in tune to the music and scenes of increasing hostility, as the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg watch with foreboding. “We have someone who would like to see you.” A butler says to Gatsby. “Not now…” he responds in a frantic whisper.
02:05 A black and white flash-back to the war show Gatsby clad in a WW1 uniform. We wonder how integral of a part will these play. They’re dark and haunting, true. But also, it just wouldn’t hurt to see more of DiCaprio running in the rain in that sort of garb.
02:20 “I wish I had done everything on Earth with you,” says Daisy’s voiceover as we see a shot of Gatsby—his party glowing exuberantly in the background. Oh, Luhrmann, we sigh, what a breathtaking spell you weave.
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