Vault Cinema: The Great Gatsby

This week, the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was released, and—visually, at least—it looks like a smash. Luhrmann’s eye for gargantuan, over-the-top detail and period excess (see Moulin Rouge!) is an acquired taste, to be sure, but he does seem to capture the feeling of frenetic nihilism essential to a depiction of the 1920s. Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as Gatsby and Daisy appear more assured than Robert Redford and Mia Farrow in the lumbering adaptation of 1974, while Luhrmann—who features Jay-Z and Kanye’s “No Church in the Wild” and Jack White’s cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness” in the trailer—links the past and the present in a way that underscores the cockeyed continuum of debauchery in New York and the Hamptons. As everything gets newer and newer, portending an “orgiastic future,” in Fitzgerald’s words, we are yet “borne back ceaselessly into the past.”