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'The Great Gatsby' is stylish fun

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The Great Gatsby

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Recently, the 2013 film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" was released on Blu-ray. It is not the first movie based on the popular book, for decades a mainstay in high school English classes.

Set in 1920s New York, "The Great Gatsby" stars Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, a young bond broker who spends the summer in a house on Long Island. He lives near his attractive and flamboyant cousin, Daisy (played by Carey Mulligan), who lives with her wealthy and sometimes boorish husband (played by Joel Edgerton). Another one of his neighbors is the popular, but illusive Jay Gatsby (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a millionaire who often throws large, decadent parties in his over-decorated mansion. When Jay learns that Nick and Daisy are cousins, he asks Nick to invite him and Daisy over for tea. Still infatuated with her from a previous relationship, Jay harbors ambitions to re-connect with Daisy, despite her status as a married woman.

"The Great Gatsby" is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who is known for making films that are very opulent and dense with richness in characterizations, settings, music, and plot. This movie is very over-the-top, especially in the lavish party scenes, which feature contemporary music instead of music from the 1920s.

Luhrmann makes the film visually stunning. Jay's very large mansion features every possible decorative excess. The 1920s cars are fabulous, and the costumes are superb.

There are a lot of great performances in the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent in the title role. He does a great job showing how nervous his character is when he is first reunited with Daisy and how he falls back in love with her. Carey Mulligan is equally good as his long lost love. Another strong performance is by Joel Edgerton, who plays Daisy's husband, who cheats on her.

Although there is little subtlety about it, "The Great Gatsby" is worth watching for its great visuals and performances.

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