Baz Luhrmann is an overrated director responsible for some of the most aimless and frivolous films ever to grace our screens. With only five films to his name in over twenty years, it is strange that both quantity and quality is lacking from his portfolio. Following each immense gap, it is even stranger that his next movie is somehow worse than the last, and yet Hollywood seems to lap up everything he makes. In fact you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the only reason Luhrmann makes movies is so that his wife can stealthily scoop all the Costume and Production Design awards.
Baz Luhrmann’s style is akin to Pitof & Zack Snyder on amphetamines, and sitting down to one of his films is like being forced to watch a production from an atrocious Theatre Camp… with the emphasis on camp. His over-the-top gilded and super-decorated aesthetic is so nauseatingly tacky, and his choice of song so clamorous, that the end result is sensory overload strangely coupled with tedium and boredom.
Moulin Rouge! was the most horridly loud yet soulless pieces of entertainment since the Brothers Gibb released Main Course. With its cheap-looking sets, lousy acting, to its horribly juxtaposed music, the whole affair was a sphincter-clenchingly embarrassing experience similar to stumbling through Anne Summers on poppers. Baz’ ability of getting absolutely the worst acting out of even the stalwarts of Hollywood, must have taken some kind of special talent that only he knows the secret to, and convincing the likes of Jim Broadbent to appear in such twaddle must be up there in the annals of arm-twisting.
In the nightmarish noughties, Moulin Rouge! was drooled-over by various award shows, and was even nominated for eight Oscars. With all the undeserved praise from the pompous media during this trashy decade, the public seemed happy to consume Luhrmann’s pabulum; even though every ingredient from Christina Aguilera’s “Lady Marmalade” to the tasteless visuals, was in reality completely unpalatable.
But if you thought Moulin was the epitome of chintz; you were wrong. Last year The Great Gatsby was released, and as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s cadaver rotated in its Maryland grave, the critics and fans seemed to glaze over yet another cinematic catastrophe. With editing even more frantic than the composer’s gestures from the opening of Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby contained some of the most hasty camera-work outside of a “Found Footage” film, coupled yet again by middle-of-the-road music; this time courtesy of Kanye West and Jay-Z. With its crummy direction, chaotic cutting, and crap script, Luhrmann’s ternion of trash had the ability to give the viewer an eye-ache, ear-ache, and arse-ache simultaneously.
The Great Gatsby seemed to be the bastard child of The Aviator and Speedracer with its synthetic brightness and lousy compositing that easily rivalled that of Moulin Rouge! The inclusion of bland and insipid actors like Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire just made the whole experience even more torturous. It was quite ironic that someone like Amitabh Bachchan was in something so Bollywood-esque outside of India and yet, despite the role of Meyer Wolfsheim being ethnically miscast, Bachchan did a better American accent than the two Aussie milk-and-water hacks Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke, a tedious tag-team fresh from annoying everybody in Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty.
With his abandoned adaptation of Alexander The Great and The not-so Great Gatsby, it is quite funny that Baz Luhrmann has made two attempts at making something with “Great” in the title, and yet his filmography is far from superb. If you are someone who hasn’t been subjected to Luhrmann’s slipshod shite, then count yourself lucky. The only reason to watch his ocular offensiveness is if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if a middle-aged man sexually abused a box of Turkish Delights on a Vaudeville stage. If not, you should stay well clear of a Baz Luhrmann creation. That being said, it’s always entertaining to watch this old hack pouting on the red carpet as he channels Zoolander‘s Blue Steel.