The Great Gatsby is a visually astounding and striking film that will leave you breathless with pain and want. This all coming form a person who yes, read the book in high school ( about six years ago), and probably enjoyed the novel mediocrely, and no did not reread before watching to pick out every damn little flaw and compare and contrast the novel to the movie. I am not a purist when it comes to those details, and I must insist that you do not put yourself under the same strain. Please, as a movie goer, understand that novels and movies are two different forms of entertainment. You can not put the same pressure as a book onto a movie, and you cannot expect a book to be as visually stimulating as a movie. Now that I have explained this to you, I will get back to the movie review.
The beginning 20 or 30 minutes of The Great Gatsby is be far the best party scene I have every seen in my entire life. You honestly feel like you are at the party and it is intoxicating. You see the booze poor, the tobacco being smoked, and for once you will finally realize how raunchy and crazy the story you once read in high school was, and why your female English teachers had such massive lady boners for Fitzgerald. What’s amazing and appreciative is that you only see small portions of the great parties in the teasers and trailers, so there are still surprises to be had when you walk in. What is disappointing though is that once Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) finally gets his Daisy to the party, there are no more parties! After being on that invigorating journey for 30 minutes you detox and want more.
Not to say that the film won’t keep your attention afterwards, because it certainly will. After that point, you really begin to recall what happened in the novel and what will be happening next. The one thing that I will point out that was done poorly, was that Wolfsheim (Amitabh Bachchan) a business associate of Gatsby’s that plays a big role in the book, is hardly mentioned in the film until the end. If I didn’t have the faded memory of the book in my mind, I really wouldn’t have realized the significance near the flattening, deafening, depressing ending. Aside from that flaw, (of which if you would like the explanation or discussion about, please comment below, we’ll talk) you could honestly walk into the theater without any prior knowledge of the book or story line.
The real character depth in this movie is shown mostly through Leonardo DiCaprio really shinning through as Gatsby. I honestly believe that no other man, in today’s age could have done a better job of displaying Jay Gatsby’s mysterious, good-hearted, grand stature. Daisy and Tom was brought brilliantly to life by Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, you really get the feeling like you are Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) or Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) whom are forcibly enduring and watching this broken marriage fall to pieces. But their characters don’t really develop, and they don’t need to. Jordan is just a pawn in Gatsby’s plan to win the love of his life back, and Nick is there to only transcend into the narrating, booze-soaked Fitzgerald.
The story of The Great Gatsby is a wonderful, yet depressing representation of the 1920s, and his story is one of life, love, and laughter, that ends in tears, sorrow, naivety, and immense pain, both of which only have one thing in common: Loyalty. Gatsby is seeping with loyalty to his life long love, and in the end Nick is Gatsby’s one true, loyal friend. After all the great things Jay Gatsby did, he had one thing to show for it all, one friendship by the most loyalest friend a man could ask for, that was amazingly built over the span of one summer.
Director Baz Luhrmann is amazing at the helm of this heady project, after the amazing success and pure enjoyment of a past classic, Moulin Rouge!, it only makes sense that he turn the story into that of a love roller-coaster. The Great Gatsby is the movie to see this summer, and I highly recommend that you go see this spectacular film on the big screen, because that is how it ought to be.
Here’s the original first trailer:
Gatsby soaking wet and nervous, is probably the funniest thing I have ever seen as well.
P.S. The symbolism will slap you up side your head and shove your face down into the ground to make sure you understand, but the book did that too, so don’t get to mad about it.
Also, yes, Leo deserves his Oscar.