After Gatsby comes the hardest role in the film to cast: Daisy. Carey Mulligan did a fine job with the role. Her voice was exactly what I pictured and you could sense her complexities. I only wish we could have seen more scenes between her and Gatsby that I hadn't already seen from the trailers. The way their meeting was handled couldn't have been more like the book which made me incredibly happy. Another scene when she's touring Gatsby's house and seeing all his fine apparel also was masterfully done. I didn't think there would be any way for the audience to connect with that scene, but Luhrmann somehow made it work. After Daisy comes Tobey's Nick Carraway. Tobey did a great job but was probably the least like his book counterpart to me. That's not because his acting wasn't fine, it's just because Tobey is so darn dopey! But in a film that was, for the most part, humorless, his rendition of Nick Carraway worked for me. Before I move on from performances I also must mention Joel Edgerton's Tom Buchanan and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki's Jordan Baker. Both were splendid and again exactly how I pictured them. Edgerton was really very good and adds a nice menacing presence in the film; I only wish we'd seen more of Debicki's character!
To fully explain where I felt let down within the movie, first I must explain where my sky high expectations came from and how they influenced my viewing of The Great Gatsby. Sometime in the last few months, I'm not sure exactly when...but I noticed the more times I saw the trailer for The Great Gatsby. the more I was enthralled with it. At first the modern music really threw me off and I just hated it. But each time I watched it I grew to appreciate that it was an incredibly well-made trailer, and the music suddenly just started working for me. Then when the next trailer after that came out...it sealed the deal that this movie I would be looking forward to more than almost any other. Even though I have loved Baz Luhrmann's previous work, I had been apprehensive about him having the job to adapt this novel....but after those trailers I embraced it and even looked forward to the touches he could bring to the work. After all, I do love Moulin Rouge! as well as his adaptation of Romeo + Juliet. So to keep my excitement alive I went ahead and rewatched the films in his "red curtain trilogy" which includes the two films I mentioned as well as Strictly Ballroom (I left out his other film Australia...because I don't know if I could ever sit through that again!) It was then I grew really comfortable with the idea of Gatsby being as stylized as possible and completely in your face. Then when I listened to the soundtrack and heard so many great songs, I became really excited to see where they'd all fit in.