Hey guys, it’s me Shane, I’m in Italics today. Let me explain. I am a fan of Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby but one of my best friends, Emerald, is absolutely obsessed with the book and was beyond excited for this film to be released. Also like most women, she is in love with Leonardo DiCaprio, which I’m sure amplified her need to see this film. She knows the book inside and out and is the only person I could really trust to give the perfect review for The Great Gatsby. Despite being a fan I knew her review would be fair and critical and would highlight the key aspects of the film. She is the reason I read the novel and she is the reason, I had any excitement for the film whatsoever. She knows her stuff guys and hopefully I can convince her to write articles in the future.
Review written by Emerald.
While hundreds of senior high school students analyzed page after page of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, I was no exception. I devoured the book within a couple of days, rereading it several times more, after falling in love with the way Fitzgerald portrayed the American Dream within a lovesick Jay Gatsby. You can only imagine how excited I was to find out that there would be a remake of the 1926, 1949 and 1974 movie adaptations.
Leave it to Baz Luhrmann to string together the perfect array of cast members, the majority of course, being Australian. Placing Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay could not have been more fitting. His natural allure and charm mixed with perfect suits and well set hair, really gave life to his character. All the vivid imaginings of his mannerisms while reading the book were point on. Like Leonardo, the rest of the cast was flawless; Carey Mulligan elegantly destroyed lives as Daisy Buchanan, looking innocent as ever with her large sad eyes. Tom Buchanan, played by Joel Edgerton was done well and quite convincing. Jordan Baker, played by Elizabeth Debicki, allowed viewers to grasp the fashion of the decade; while many focus on shapeless flapper dresses being the decades fashion symbol, Jordan Baker shows the chic and slightly form fitting dresses that should be the real icon of the 20s.
Luhrmann did an amazing job contrasting social and economic classes, not only with the use of setting but also through the characters. Isla Fisher did a stunning job as Myrtle Wilson, holding on to every possible thread that connected her to Tom Buchanan’s old money world. On the other hand, George Wilson played by Jason Clarke, showed the real struggle of his social standing during that time. Last but not least, Tobey Maguire played a convincing Nick Carraway. Convincing enough for me to gain back my respect from him after his shoddy job in Spider Man 3 (let’s not go into detail about that one).
The soundtrack is a whole different story. Jay-Z serving as executive producer could only mean good things, and it did. Produced by Luhrmann and Anton Monsted, the soundtrack was executed flawlessly. Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” was perfectly played during the intimate moments of Daisy and Jay, while the instrumentals carried out throughout several portions of the movie where the two of them are the central focus. It truly became their song, and really captures the idea of what true love means and what one hopes it to be. Florence and the Machine’s “Over the Love” gave a surreal and slightly more serious tone to the film, really capturing the viewer’s attention. Many songs used were subtly played in the background and had their genres altered to give them a more “Jazz Age” feel. The cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy In love” by The Bryan Ferry Orchestra had a classic 20s vibe, while 100$ Bill by Jay-Z took us for a surprise. It’s one of those instances where if you (for some insane reason) did not like the movie, you were damn sure going to like the soundtrack.
While skeptical on how the production would run in terms or perspective, the use of the sanitarium worked surprisingly well. While the on screen excerpts from the script should’ve been left out, the story flowed smoothly and I was quite happy that they didn’t change too much from the novel. I think the only thing that really did bug me was the change in the opening quote. I might be nitpicking here, but I felt that the words Fitzgerald used about opportunity and judgement were especially important to the whole of the book, so the change did offset me a little.
Overall, however, The Great Gatsby did an amazing job in bringing the “Roaring Twenties” out of our history textbooks and onto the silver screen. While die hard Fitzgerald fans may find more flaws in the transfer from paper to film, the adaptation definitely did the novel itself justice, allowing the viewer to see the use of symbolism that they failed to discuss on that one English final.
Score: 8 out of 10