Extravagant, loud and full of pizzaz. This movie has it all, and anyone who read the book in high school knows that so does Jay Gatsby. Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic, The Great Gatsby is a love story wrapped in drunken parties and racist rich people. A great satire on the 1920s in the vein of Bret Easton Ellis, though with significantly less chainsaws. Fitzgerald’s Gatsby is everything men of that time strived to be. Rich, charming, powerful and famous. A war hero and philanthropist, Gatsby almost seems to be almost too perfect.
Baz Luhrman takes his signature style of fast pased shots and a high use of close ups to convey drama. The first half of the film keeps you wrapped up in extravagant theatrics that could only be done by Gatsby. Unfortunately the pace tires out after the first half. It gets progressively slower until the end is nothing more then a dramatic slog through muddy tie ups.
The music is oddly fitting though. A mixture of modern hip hop and old timey tunes really ads to the flair and pomp that is this film. What people don’t understand, including some that I saw it with, is that this isn’t really a period piece. Sure it has the setting of the 1920s but it’s not really about that. Though I do get a sort of sick giggle out of it knowing most of the rich people in this film may be in for a rude awakening come the 1930s…
People who have not read the books may not know that this story, extravagant as it is. Is a love story. All that he does, he does for the love of Daisy Buchanan whom he met before going off to single handedly win WWI.
But it doesn’t end there. It turns out that Gatsby isn’t all that he was cracked up to be. Hidden behind the shiny charade is a man from humble beginnings who happened to save the life of one rich guy. After going on a boat trip around the world and learning how to act rich, Gatsby joined the military to fight in the war. Right before he was to leave for war he met daisy at a party for officers. Now in that time officers were primarily rich so Daisy was lead to believe he had a lot of money, which he doesn’t
In trying to win Daisy’s love, his elaborate plan backfires and in a fit of rage for being called a loser he scares Daisy away. Ultimately making the story wholey redundant. Personally, I’m not a fan of sad or retributal endings in films like this but this film made it work. The beginning really makes you think that he is going to succeed but you slowly see it breaking apart at the seams and all you want to do is reach into the screen and yell.
Which brings me to my next point, the acting in this film is phenomenal. Dicaprio plays the poor rich man perfectly and has all the granduer in one moment and in an instant he can break that facade. It’s truly remarkable. Tobey Maguire is really the main protagonist in the story. Same idea as the hero of Cyrodiil in Oblivion. It’s not really about him but we see and do everything from his perspective. Carey Mulligan plays the part of Daisy Mulligan really well. She does the easily overwhelmed, poor little rich girl part well. Joel Edgerton plays the high bred Tom Buchanan well as well and truly makes you both hate him and understand him all at once.
All in all, The Great Gatsby is a feast for the eyes and the ears and the beginning has a great pace, unfortunately its overly long and drawn out so what was aweome in the beginning, was just arduous in the end. The acting was awesome though, I can’t say that enough, but unfortunately, even that wasn’t enough to save it.
Rating out of 10:
Posted by Chris Whan