The Pretty Great Gatsby
So on Friday I watched ‘The Great Gatsby’ directed this time by the awesome Baz Luhrmann famed for films like ‘Romeo + Juliet’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Australia’ and I had no doubt that this film would be eye candy. My only fear was that that was all it would be – I read the book earlier this year, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and there is so much that gets put on the line when a film gets made on a book of this calibre.
The story follows Nick Carraway and how he experienced his time with the gaudy people of 20’s New York. It describes his times with the Buchanans – the infectious Daisy and “brute of a man” Tom – and his friendship with a mysterious man called Jay Gatsby. The book is definitely must read which I highly recommend, preferably before you see the movie.
Now it comes to the movie, which I have been looking forward to avidly for quite a while. The two words that I mentioned earlier pretty much sums it up – “eye candy”. The beauty of the imagery verges on ostentatious and pretentious but in my opinion stops right before the obscene downfall into gaudiness. I love it; I will probably end up geeking out over the film the whole weekend. I’m a huge film lover I really appreciated the imagery that these artists created. I thought the casting was absolutely perfect for most characters – especially Gatsby, Daisy and Tom played by Leonardo Dicaprio, Carrie Mulligan and Joel Edgerton respectively. I was pleasantly surprised by Tobey Maguire, I admittedly have not been a fan of his since Spiderman (where I spent the whole time wanting to punch him in the face) but he really did do a great job.
The biggest pro about the film is the artistry: everything from the score to the cinematography was so brilliantly done - I love the soundtrack so actually. The overbearing image of Dr. T J Eckleberg was so brilliant in this one – it really seemed like the writers and director really were inspired by the book and drew from it – something you don’t find often nowadays. I thought the film created beautiful representations of the scenes I read, often bringing a new twist. Luhrmann once again put a rather large twist on his movie though, this time with the modernisation of the twenties. Although some might find it odd, and once again, a bit gaudy; I really enjoyed it. The scenes of Gatsby’s parties were extravagant and eye catching but on top of that, just seemed like so much fun. His integration of the modern into the twenties was brilliantly done in the music and set design. I felt immersed in the unique ‘Roaring Twenties’ Baz was trying to make.
I do recommend however, watching with caution: I have a feeling it will rub many the wrong way and maybe I was slightly blinded by the fan-boy in me but what can I say, I loved this interpretation. I don’t always think that creating a picture perfect representation of a book on screen is exactly what is needed – if you want exact go read the book. I think Baz re-imagines the story in a whole new light, emphasizing new things and making his own artwork which stems off of the original. I highly recommend this to all who don’t mind artistic licence. It may anger you that he changed it and flashed the lighting, costumes and party card bit too much, but at least it’s an experience. I give this an 8/10.