Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby"

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Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby"

Post by Deviss on Sat May 18, 2013 10:30 pm

"My life... My life has got to be like this; it's got to keep going up."

  • Story: Four Stars
  • Acting: Four Stars
  • Directing: Three and a half Stars
  • Visuals: Four Stars
  • Overall: Three and a half Stars

This might be the most difficult review I've ever done. The biggest reason is the fact that I have no idea if I've ever read the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel as a class back in high school or have listened to it in an audiobook format. That and this is the second time I'm having to retype this review. Keeping that in mind, I will do the best I can with this review and I hope you find it to be as enjoyable as the reviews I've done in the past.

---

In the summer of 1922, Midwesterner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Yale University graduate and World War I veteran, moves to New York and rents a small house on Long Island. Spending time with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), and her husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton), a college acquaintance of his, earlier in the summer, Nick is drawn to the extravagant parties held by his mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Soon enough, however, Carraway begins to see through the cracks of Gatsby's nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await.

One of the main reasons I wanted to see this movie was the eclectic music used in its various trailers, from Jay-Z and Beyonce to Lana Del Rey and Florence + the Machine. Much like a couple of other movies I've reviewed, the usage of a Florence + the Machine song in one of the trailers was one of the bigger selling points for me. It was one of the first trailers, and the song used was "Bedroom Hymns", I think but that was just at first. The song that was made specifically for this movie was "Over the Love" by Florence + the Machine. Even with the basic knowledge of the source material that I have, it's relatively easy to see the parallels that are made between song and movie.

To go on about "Over the Love" for a bit, if I could, it's a song that I have listened to some twenty-one times according to the "Play Counter" in my iTunes library (that's not counting the number of times that I've listened to it through YouTube) and I haven't gotten tired of hearing its tones. There are key points where Florence hits certain high notes and holds them for just the right amount of time where I just close my eyes in sheer enjoyment. It's almost like a story is being told in four minutes and twenty seconds but I could just be reading too much into it. But the point of this review isn't to go on about that.

I had it planned to have this review finished much earlier in the day (it's nearly midnight here) but aside from the enraging factor of having to restart from nothing, there was some reason that kept me putting it off. It wasn't because the movie wasn't good; even with the little knowledge of the source material that I had, I still enjoyed what Luhrmann brought to the table. It wasn't because I enjoy it; the two hours that I sat in my theater were rather enjoyable. The reason for my putting it off was because... the movie left me feeling despondent. That is something that rarely happens with a movie. I saw the movie yesterday night and yet I still feel the same way.

Being a fan of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series (as well as the HBO TV series) I should be more used to "unhappy endings" but there was something about the characters in this movie that rebelled against that notion. If I had to narrow it down to one or two performances, those would have to be, obviously, that of Tobey Maguire's Nick Carraway as the window into thet world and Leonardo DiCaprio's Jay Gatsby as the man who had it all, but wanted just one more thing, respectively. There was something about about DiCaprio's performance that drew me into that world, much like Carraway was drawn to Gatsby.

One thing that is a potential unknown is whether or not DiCaprio will garner any sort of notice come awards season. The fact of its release date all but negates that possibility, but I've been a longtime fan of his ever since his "Titanic" days, and being bolstered by his performance in Christopher Nolan's "Inception" so I hope that something will come his way.

To talk about the other characters in this movie, those of Daisy and Tom, both of them were nominal; Joel Edgerton was an appropriate old money [Nope] and Carey Mulligan was nominal but the both of them were a token thing. Part of me feels like I should be more sympathetic to the character of Daisy than I am, but I read in a friend's review that the character of Daisy was shallow in the novelization (I'm lookin' at you ejk, ha ha) that she was almost not enjoyable, I think. But I do sympathize with the idea of a woman falling love with a man, only to have that man leave and, apparently, fail to return, fall in love with another man after marring him, and then have that first man return and want her back, and being too afraid to make a solid decision.

After seeing it with my girlfriend, she was complaining about the ending and I told her, "Some stories just don't have a happy ending." And that is the way of the world sometimes. Even though we want the good guy to win and get the girl, that doesn't always happen.

This was a review by tMG. Thank you for reading old sport.

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