Film is a director’s medium and good directors make good films.  However, great directors make moving art.

With “The Great Gatsby,” director Baz Luhrmann has really created a masterwork.  It’s a big, splashy, visual party that also has an important moral, courtesy of great author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

When Baz Luhrmann takes the helm of a picture, you already know it’s going to be quite a spectacle.  Remember Australia?  Anyway, from start to finish, you see his brushstrokes and handiwork all over the screen.

Luhrmann’s screenplay and version of Fitzgerald’s work remains steeped in the opulent excess of the roaring ‘20s complete with all of the wealth, racist entitlement, glamorous parties and intrigue that is Jay Gatsby, a role that Leonardo DiCaprio absolutely kills.  He is every bit the movie star in this film. This year should be his year to get that overdue Oscar.

Once again, it’s Tobey Maguire’s job to be the narrator and moral center of a film which again, works very well.  Rounding out Fitzgerald’s famous trio is Carey Mulligan who is absolutely perfect as Daisy.  She does such a spectacular job of capturing the fragility and uncertainty of many women who simply didn’t have a lot of options at that time.

The film and of course, Fitzgerald’s moral of the story remain very relevant even now in light of everything that’s happening in the world today.  Luhrmann does a great job – with the help of Jay-Z Carter - at updating a story steeped in the ‘20s through his selection of music, editing and other devices.

In short, Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” combines a fun ride with a cautionary tale about politics, culture, race, social status, duplicity and hypocrisy told with all of the visual delight and ear pleasing melodies that he could muster.

It’s quite a ride.