Consumption In Cinema

Joe Pinsker compares Luhrmann’s glitzy Gatsby to Spring Breakers:

Luhrmann’s approach to filmmaking resembles a carousal. Gatsby was made in the absence of inhibition, with every impulse indulged. Should we gratuitously use massive, swooping shots to set every scene? Let’s do it. Should we depict the death of Myrtle Wilson, in all of its slow-motion, 30-feet-in-the-air glory, not once, but twice? I can’t see why we wouldn’t. Oh, and can we just take all of that and, you know, make it 3-D? I’m one step ahead of you.

[In Spring Breakers] it becomes clear that there is such a thing as too much — too much skin, too much alcohol, too much pleasure. Breasts appear so often in the movie that they become props. Luhrmann’s party sequences can be alluring because they remain tasteful, but Korine lets his party scenes surge far beyond desirability. That the film’s hedonistic scenes are punctuated with moments of real tension and grit — at one point, Alien tends one girl’s gunshot wound — only further suggests that Korine is aware of what he’s doing.

Joshua Rothman thinks Luhrmann is aware too:

I can’t help but feel that the film’s flatness is a deliberate choice; that what seems like a failure of Luhrmann’s imagination is actually a faithfulness to Fitzgerald’s. The characters are like that in the novel, too; that’s why Lionel Trilling, in “The Liberal Imagination,” compared them to “ideographs.” Flatness, after all, is the state to which all of Fitzgerald’s characters aspire. Even Gatsby, whose life thrums with secret ambition and desire, manages to be the cool man in the pink suit. “You always look so cool,” Daisy tells him. In a moment of admiration, she says that he resembles “an advertisement” of a man.