Like most artists and creators, my work holds a very special place in my heart and in most cases, it felt like you were tearing it apart. Yet again I believe that like most artists I must take this criticism into consideration and try to understand what each of you have said. So, unlike what you probably would have expected this letter to state, I will be going through the critic’s reviews of both Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby and not only disagree with the reviews but try to create a better understanding using characterization, camera shots and angles scenes and props used. To bridge the gap and help myself see an audience’s interpretation while presenting mine.
I’ll begin with the first review from Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone who reviewed my 2001 film, Moulin Rouge. He begins by saying I explode archetypes, “to discover what the suckers are made of”. I can’t completely disagree with that I did explode those suckers to discover what they were made of, but I did so with a purpose. I had Christians love for Satine reach a sky high just to have it brought down due to her death (like Gatsby’s love after Daisy’s betrayal). I was also able to create a good story visually (aside from the occasional roller-coaster type camera shots) for example the close-up shots of Satine when she was in distress or deep contemplation or even when she was about to put on a show or a bird’s eye view angle to establish a scene. These were all used with good intent and made Moulin Rouge the “one-of-a-kind” (to quote David Jenkins of Rotten Tomatoes) film it was. Sure, it displayed some clichés but what love story doesn’t. I take Christians intense infatuation with the idea of love and uses it to push the story forward. To once again quote Mr. Jenkins, “its sense of fun is so relentless and excessive”. It was quite relentless and excessive, but the idea was to show that love has no ceiling even after Satine’s death Christians love carries on. A common them I see in the reviews is the sense that the film was over whelming which it was in some cases childishly so, but I still managed to pay attention to detail, whether it be illustrating emotion through lighting and color or using camera shots and angles to illustrate dynamics in the relationships of the characters. Mr. Jenkins you believe that the film displayed “tedious” elements I must disagree and say that it was far from boring and its length had a purpose. With Moulin Rouge’s opera inspirations such as melodramatic acting and a predictable plot which have instead been described as, “grandiose”, an “archetype” and “bombastic” judging by these words I believe I have done my job.
Moving onto the review of my 2013 film, The Great Gatsby, which again was set in the early 1900’s some could say a more tasteful version of Moulin Rouge a more mature production with of course better technology and a calmer use of camera shots and angles. I was able to create parallels between both films through the characters, use of red curtain cinema and lighting and color contrast. Satine can be compared to both Daisy and Gatsby in the sense that here presence is seen as a blessing so is Gatsby’s and Daisy’s betrayal towards Gatsby is like that of when satine did not disclose her disease to Christian. On to the reviews, to quote Kenneth Turan, “Luhrmann’s direction of his actors cudgels every instinct of naturalness out of them”. I’d disagree in saying that I would not be able to extract reality out of something so real. Aside from the “impossible” love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy the film possesses the message that nothing lasts forever and no matter what the truth will come out, so Gatsby’s almost forced persona seems forced because it is because not only is Dicaprio play Gatsby, but Gatsby is playing Gatsby and that’s what make the non-authenticity authentic. Add impeccable framing and better use of camera shots this file is a notch above the rest
To conclude, the films possess a certain finesse that others don’t, and I’ll admit that aside from a pure use of the cameras at certain moment and abuse of creative license I did my job amazingly and I am certainly a creator that brings the auteur theory to life.