Watch The Great Gatsby Online - In HD Video And Download. and costumery parading before a restless camera, and for a while Luhrmann's go-for-broke impulses serve him well. Where too many directors seem at a loss to turn 3-D to advantage, Luhrmann uses it aggressively, plunging viewers into Fitzgerald's Jazz Age metropolis and realizing opulently decorated homes, bustling streets and an even more bustling underworld with equal care.

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In the film's first act he turns the innocence-corroding journey of new-to-town narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire, convincing as a wide-eyed innocent even as he advances well beyond Peter Parker age) into a mad rush of discovery. It will climax, of course, in that riotous party at the mansion of Nick's mysterious, nouveau riche neighbor J. Gatsby, a man much spoken of in the early going but little seen.

When Luhrmann finally reveals the title character, he does so as assorted partygoers work themselves into a frenzy, Rhapsody in Blue pounds on the soundtrack and fireworks explode in the sky. It's a glorious bit of moviemaking that doubles as a master class in the fine art of going effectively over the top. Unfortunately, the film is never again as successful; from here on, it has to dig into the bothersome business of telling Fitzgerald's story.

That's not the fault of the actors. Leonardo DiCaprio makes for a fine Gatsby, hiding behind the smile of a man who has set his world in order, letting the smile slip when he thinks no one can see him. He uses charm, graciousness and carefully practiced mannerism as bludgeon and shield as he defends the place he has carved out in a world hostile to dreamers, strivers and self-inventing social climbers.
Under the watchful gaze of intrigued Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire, left) and seething old-money scion Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), Gatsby pays court to Tom's fascinated wife, Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Your local English major can tell you how that works out.

Under the watchful gaze of intrigued Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire, left) and seething old-money scion Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), Gatsby pays court to Tom's fascinated wife, Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Your local English major can tell you how that works out.
Warner Bros. Pictures

As Tom Buchanan, Joel Edgerton plays his polar opposite, bringing a threatening physicality to the part of an entitled bully so secure about his place in the world as to believe, it would seem justifiably, that he can get away with virtually any kind of bad behavior. Only Carey Mulligan struggles, in the role of Daisy, the woman torn between the two men; a cipher on the page, she's not easily rendered as flesh and blood on the screen, even by an actress of Mulligan's skill.