On Tuesday the 29th I saw The Great Gatsby for the second time. I’ll probably see it a third time. When the movie finished, and Tobey Maguire’s final words faded, the gold design fading back onto the screen, there was a hush in the audience. No one was talking, no one wanted to breathe. Gatsby casts a spell over the theater that is palpable.
There is no doubt that Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is a spectacle. It’s vivid and beautiful and heart wrenching. A faithful adaptation to the novel, this movie will quickly become a classic.
The acting in this film is completely wonderful. Carey Mulligan is charming and beautiful as ever in this role. The film cleverly makes us fall in love with her too. We know her husband is cheating on her, we can see the sadness of her life and our hopes are raised even more that she will choose Gatsby. The affection between Gatsby and Daisy is tangible, which makes their ending that much more tragic.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays obsession well and we all know it; as early as the Aviator and Catch Me If You Can Leo was playing crazy like he plays charming, flawlessly. We can never quite tell when Gatsby is telling the truth, and Leo plays it just this side of shifty. The scene with Wolfsheim felt tense and strange while Leo as Gatsby remained cool and in control. A perfect illustration of the relationship between him and Nick.
I’ve read a few criticisms that suggest the new film erases some of the ambiguity about Nick Carraway’s sexuality (Tobey Maguire). There is a scene in the novel during the party in the city with Myrtle and Tom where Nick finds himself alone with the photographer guy and the man is in his underwear in bed. It’s quite strange and raises a lot of questions. Nothing like that happens at the party in the film, however, I think Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Nick Carraway and his awkwardness with Jordan Baker at times, makes up for leaving out a scene that makes us questions Carraway’s sexuality.
The staging and effects on this film were magnificent. Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s home is grand beyond belief. In the novel, I could never quite picture that scene with the billowing curtains and the girls lounging on the couch, but the film absolutely brings it to life. Daisy’s entrance in the film is magical.
And can we talk about the soundtrack a little? Because OH MY GOD! It’s wonderful. The Big Band orchestration of Crazy in Love sounds so 20’s it blows my mind. I’m not usually a fan of Lana Del Rey, I think a lot of her songs sound the same, kinda trance-y mellow music, but her song Young and Beautiful is so full of longing and sadness, and the scenes they underline with it in the film are perfect. Will. i. Am’s Bang Bang is one of my favorite songs on this CD, it’s classy, it’s twenties and techno hip hop romantic dance-y, this song has everything. I can’t stop listening to this soundtrack.
I cannot rave enough about this movie. Of course there will be some differences, but this seems to be as close as one can get to great adaptation.
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