The Cinematic Splendor of The Great Gatsby: a Film Analysis

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 609 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 609|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel, "The Great Gatsby," has been adapted into various cinematic renditions, each attempting to capture the essence of the Jazz Age and the enigmatic character of Jay Gatsby. The 2013 adaptation directed by Baz Luhrmann stands out for its opulent visual style and contemporary soundtrack. This essay delves into the film's narrative, visual aesthetics, character portrayals, and thematic interpretations, demonstrating how Luhrmann’s version interprets and transforms Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece for the screen.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Body Paragraph

Narrative and Faithfulness to the Source Material

One of the primary measures of a successful literary adaptation is its faithfulness to the source material. Luhrmann’s "The Great Gatsby" largely adheres to the plot of Fitzgerald’s novel, with Nick Carraway narrating the story of his enigmatic neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and his obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan. However, Luhrmann introduces a framing device where Nick recounts the story from a sanitarium, a creative liberty that some critics argue distances the film from the novel’s pure narrative form. This choice serves to provide a psychological depth to Nick’s character, offering a modern perspective on his role as an observer and participant in the roaring twenties.

Visual Aesthetics and Cinematography

Luhrmann’s "The Great Gatsby" is celebrated for its lavish and extravagant visual style. The director employs a vibrant color palette, elaborate costumes, and grandiose set designs to encapsulate the opulence of the 1920s. The use of 3D technology and CGI enhances the grandeur of Gatsby’s parties, making them a visual spectacle that contrasts sharply with the novel’s more subdued descriptions. This visual decadence serves to underscore the themes of excess and superficiality that permeate the story. Cinematographer Simon Duggan’s sweeping camera movements and dynamic angles further immerse the audience in the hedonistic world of East Egg and West Egg, making the film a feast for the senses.

Character Portrayals

The performances in Luhrmann’s adaptation are both a strength and a point of contention among critics. Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Jay Gatsby is widely praised for capturing the character’s charisma, vulnerability, and obsessive ambition. DiCaprio brings a nuanced complexity to Gatsby, making him a tragic figure whose dreams are both grand and unattainable. Carey Mulligan’s Daisy Buchanan embodies the character’s allure and fragility but has been criticized for lacking the depth that makes Daisy’s character so compelling in the novel. Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway serves as the audience’s conduit into Gatsby’s world, and while his performance is earnest, it sometimes falls short of capturing the character’s internal conflict and moral ambiguity.

Thematic Interpretations

Themes of the American Dream, love, and social stratification are central to both the novel and the film. Luhrmann’s adaptation emphasizes the hollowness of the American Dream through its exaggerated portrayal of wealth and decadence. Gatsby’s relentless pursuit of Daisy, symbolized by the green light at the end of her dock, is depicted as both romantic and futile. The film underscores the idea that Gatsby’s dream is unattainable, not because of a lack of effort, but because it is built on illusion and deception. The soundtrack, featuring contemporary artists like Jay-Z and Lana Del Rey, juxtaposes modernity with the 1920s setting, drawing parallels between the excesses of the Jazz Age and those of the present day.


Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

Baz Luhrmann’s "The Great Gatsby" is a bold and visually stunning interpretation of Fitzgerald’s classic novel. While it takes creative liberties that may not sit well with purists, the film succeeds in capturing the spirit of the Jazz Age and the complexities of its characters. Through its opulent visuals, compelling performances, and thematic depth, the film offers a fresh perspective on a timeless story. In doing so, it invites both admiration and critique, much like Gatsby himself, reflecting the enduring allure and tragedy of the American Dream.

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Cinematic Splendor of The Great Gatsby: A Film Analysis. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“The Cinematic Splendor of The Great Gatsby: A Film Analysis.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
The Cinematic Splendor of The Great Gatsby: A Film Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
The Cinematic Splendor of The Great Gatsby: A Film Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now