Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” hits theaters tomorrow with some issues. On Rotten Tomatoes, the website for critics and bloggers, the movie has a low 43% rating. That’s low for the week, the year, for a movie that’s not going to be an action hit. A lot of the folks there slammed it, including USA Today. On a positive note, The New York Times’ Tony Scott liked it. And I agree with him. I’ve seen it twice.
Luhrmann’s movie is wild, but even in that there’s incredibly beauty and neat touches. When we first meet Gatsby at a party in his house, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” plays to a crescendo. It’s a grand moment. And in the end, the Gatsby story remains a sad and chilling one. Luhrmann never shirks the material. Scott is correct that “Gatsby” is not so sacrosanct that it can’t be played with. And Luhrmann has done a fine job.
But that 43 % with more to come tomorrow, isn’t good. This kind of film depends on reviews. So expect a slow start at the box office but, I think, good word of mouth that will build it over the Memorial Day weekend.