There are very few novels treasured as well as The Great Gatsby. F Scott Fitzgerald’s story of love and riches has and always will be considered a landmark in American literature. Film makers have tried to adapt the film to screen four times in the past, the most famous being the 70’s version starring Robert Redford. However, it is said time and time again that none of the films really retain the novel’s brilliance. Shamefully, I’ve never read the novel, nor have I seen the other adaptations, so I’m taking this film at face value. But is Baz Luhrman’s period piece an extravagant celebration of love and wealth or a drawn out declaration of boredom?
Soon, Gatsby and Nick become very good friends. But one day, Gatsby asks his friend for a huge favour: He wants to invite Daisy to tea. We find out that Daisy and Gatsby were previous lovers, and truthfully he never got over it. That’s why he bought the house he owns, as its right across from hers, across the water. Soon enough, they meet, and the passion flies back into their lives. However, it’s not something that will sit well with Tom...
Honestly, it’s an ok movie. Whilst I liked it, there were some parts that I found myself enduring rather than enjoying. Some scenes are quite drawn out, though one of them is quite essential to the story. Also, I found it extremely hard to sit there and listen to the obnoxious voices and overly positive attitudes of all the rich people in the film, excluding Gatsby. Even the first scene where we meet Daisy and her friend Jordan nearly drove me out of the cinema. But I couldn’t justify paying £7 for a film and then walking out. Luckily, you get used to it, and you realise it’s actually not that intolerable.
Now, let’s go to performances. To be honest, there isn’t a bad performance in the film. Carey Mulligan, whilst irritating at first, is a delightful character. She’s full of positive energy, although that’s clear that her husband is bringing her down. However, once she meets Gatsby again, thing go slower. She is overtaken by happiness but lives in fear of Tom. Joel Edgerton has pretty much the most unlikeable character in the film, what with his cheating and his douche baggery in general, but Edgerton pulls it off nicely. Tobey Maguire, in my opinion, gave the best performance in the movie. He seems very positive about life at the start, and is enjoying being Jay’s friend. But he soon becomes confused by his friend’s actions, and this shows brilliantly. You can tell from some of the ending scenes how serious he takes their friendship; he has respect for him that no one else has. And of course, there’s Leonardo DiCaprio as the film’s namesake. He is spectacular, from his charm to his wit to his appearance, Leo IS Jay Gatsby. Most importantly, he really embodies the lost soul that Gatsby has. He longs to be with his one true love, and Leo really makes us feel for the character. I can’t compare his Gatsby to other actors, nor can I for the rest of the characters, but I personally think this was a perfect representation of the character (any fans of the novel can correct me on that).
Overall, the films drags, becomes dull at points and has a horrendous soundtrack. Do I think you should avoid it? No way. Do I think you should wait for the DVD? Absolutely not. If you have money and nothing to do this weekend, go see Gatsby. I can’t promise you’ll have the best experience but trust me, you need to be in the cinema to take everything in and I reckon it would become boring on DVD. Still, for its great visuals, legendary story, interesting direction and absolutely flawless acting, I applaud The Great Gatsby.
Have you seen it yet? Did you love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments!