“Luhrmann’s gaudy film with its pantomime mansions and Busby Berkeley party scenes debases what little integrity the original has by corrupting the history of a fascinating period in the ever compelling growth of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. Its cheap emotionalism and vulgar filmic cliches are in no way an authentic reflection of anything in the 1920s. But it is sure as hell an authentic voice for our times in its lascivious drooling over the wealth and luxury of the attitudes and lifestyles of the super rich. The Great Gatsby in Luhrmann’s version is a fashion story about greed and it entirely reflects the attitudes and beliefs of the high fashion world today. No wonder American Vogue went over the top about it. The whole film is as vacuous as the pages of most fashion magazines. And for that reason alone, it might be worth seeing a few years hence and will probably be looked at by social and cultural historians in the future as a parable of and key to our our own times because this film has little to do with the spirit of the 1920s and everything to do with contemporary living and dreaming.
It is the world we live in now that we are seeing on the screen and one that we, the fashionistas, have been instrumental in creating — a world of excess and self-indulgence that we have praised lavishly whilst encouraging its attitudes and allowing it to develop unchecked by any hint of real criticism for the values underpinning it. Like the fashion world, The Great Gatsby in Luhrmann’s version is about excess and how it feeds on itself and leads to debasement and vulgarity.”
– from a Colin McDowell piece written for Business of Fashion