And finally, there's Bryan Ferry , the soundtrack's old gentleman, who's been playing at Lurhmann's game since Roxy Music started back at the dawn of the 1970s. Ferry's reworking of that band's "Love Is the Drug" in the spirit of crooners like Russ Columbo sounds straightforward at first, like the instrumental album he released earlier this year (and much of his solo work). Consider the lyrics of Roxy's biggest hit, though; singles bars and scoring would have never been mentioned in Gatsby's West Egg home. In Ferry's performance, the past infuses the present like the bubbles in a glass of champagne. Jay Gatsby would have cherished the illusion.
Shot right as the former teen heartthrob was rounding the corner into middle age, “The Great Gatsby” captures the flashbulb moment when an icon starts to become human, and for every moment where Luhrmann emphasizes DiCaprio’s natural glitz (immortalized in a character introduction brilliant enough to wrestle “Rhapsody in Blue” away from Woody Allen), there’s one where the camera seems determined to map the lines that are starting to crease across the actor’s face. This film may be more sympathetic to Gatsby than Fitzgerald ever was, but it’s just as unforgiving, and it encourages viewers to regard him with the same awed mercilessness that we always do celebrities.