The Great Gatsby Review

THE GREAT GATSBY – Movie Review

Genre – Drama

Director (Book Author) – Baz Lurhmann (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton

Alluring element – A shiny looking movie based on an American classic/10th grade homework assignment

Check It Out If You Liked – Anything else directed by Baz Lurhmann (Australia, Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge)

SCORECARD (Each category graded on a 10-point scale):
  • Plot – 7
  • Acting – 9
  • Effects/Environment – 10
  • Overall awesomeness – 8
  • Creativity – 7
  • Logical consistency – 8
  • Soundtrack/Music – 10
  • Representation of Genre – 8
  •  Captivity – 8
  • Cinematography – 9

hush_rating_84

Full disclosure folks – The Great Gatsby is a boring book.  Just an opinion, so feel free to disagree with me!  Before going to see the motion picture Gatsby, I did my homework and read the book.  A lot of us probably had to do a book report on this classic novel back in high school, but this one never hit my curriculum.  But in true Gatsby fashion, I figured I’d “re-live the past” and catch myself up.  A fairly quick read, The Great Gatsby on the surface is quite bland.  It’s one of those novels that has a lot of metaphorical significance and contextual relevance, but my sci-fi, action-adventure brain has been so thoroughly conditioned that I didn’t really take the time to contemplate and explore the deeper meaning in the text.  Again, feel free to bash my take on all this.  However… I think those of you who appreciate the novel may not want to slam me too hard after reading the rest of the review. Before reflection, let me lay out this film.  The Great Gatsby takes place in New York during the roaring 20’s.  Wall Street is kicking ass, flappers are rampant, the Charleston is poppin’, and cars have yet to be deemed classic (the film prominently displays all these things).  This story focuses on Nick Carraway and his most interesting summer spent in the company of some most interesting characters.  Nick (an aspiring writer) ends up landing a stock exchange job in New York.  He moves to Long Island (West Egg) where he finds a humble shack nestled between the big fancy mansions of the region.  His direct neighbor, in fact, owns the biggest most lavish mansion of all New York.  Enter Jay Gatsby, a man so wealthy he can afford to throw the most outrageous and extraordinary parties every weekend.  And he does just that!  As Nick eventually finds himself in the frequent company of Gatsby he learns that this riveting and charismatic man has a most interesting angle for living where he does and in the way he does.  And it all has something to do with Nick’s charming and gorgeous cousin, Daisy Buchanan who lives right across the Long Island bay in East Egg, with her not-so-loyal husband Tom.  The story unfolds to be one of forbidden romance and secrecy that ends in a way nobody ever thought possible. So how did this boring book pan out on the silver screen?  Quite spectacularly actually.  My impatient, uncreative man-brain wasn’t overly excited at the prospect of sitting through a two-and-a-half hour movie about a slow book that took me a day to read.  What did convince me to head to the theater were the fancy, shiny shots I’d been seeing in previews as well as the fact that it starred Leo (I love me some Leo).  As the film began I started to recall the details and sequence of events in the book.  I brought to mind the semantics and writing style of Fitzgerald.  In all honesty, I was completely prepared for a literary slaughter, thinking that the saving grace would be the glamour of the cinematography and Leo’s pearly smile.  I may not be an expert on literature, but at least I’d be able to tell if Hollywood screwed the pooch on this one.  Well let me tell you fellow Hushers, I was pleasantly and profoundly surprised at what I witnessed. Not only do the movie makers stay very true to the novel, they make it better!  While I have as creative an imagination as most, the Gatsby film team does a superb job of showcasing the shear lavish, flamboyancy and pizzazz that is the underlining theme of Gatsby.  From the fireworks, to the valley of ashes, to the characters and their brightly colored attire, it is all so in-your-face you can’t help but want more!  Direct quotes from the book are used often and are delivered perfectly.  That’s real acting at its finest, old sport!  What’s even more impressive is the pace of it all.  While my reading experience could be dubbed as “slow,” this movie surely cannot.  Scenes transition quickly, plot builds deliberately, it seems that the camera is always moving (but not in a Cloverfield – make you want to vomit kind of way) and it all works to keep the audience engaged.  The other piece that made this film better than the book is the soundtrack.  Above all other aspects of movie making I always, always say that music makes the movie.  The Great Gatsby was made by its music.  I mean these tracks are ON-POINT people.  With musical styling ranging from Kanye and Jay-Z to Lana Del Rey to Nero to Louis Armstrong.  It all embodied the times while simultaneously remains modern and new!  The first thing I did after leaving the theater was download the soundtrack. But every movie has its flaws, especially ones based on novels.  I do feel that as the movie progressed it got slower.  I was on such a high for the first 90 minutes that I expected the film to keep me there.  I was lifted back up in only a few notable moments throughout the last half.  A few small details were left out and one really big one! [SPOILER ALERT (kinda) – James Gatz (Gatsby) did indeed have living parents.  His father makes an appearance at the conclusion of the novel proving that Nick was in fact NOT the only person that cared for Gatsby. – END ALERT] In the big scheme of things, though, the highlights are greater than the downfalls.  Overall, this movie was great.  Of the movies that I’ve seen this year (most of them sub-par) it was refreshing to watch something so well executed and fashioned after a classic American novel.  I definitely have a greater appreciation for the book after having seen the movie.  Maybe that’s the genetics of my generation speaking for me, but I’m okay with that.  I think the moral of this review is “don’t judge a movie by its poster.”  Or maybe it’s “a book not enjoyed doesn’t make for a movie not loved,” …or something like that. Hush gives The Great Gatsby an 84/100.  If you’ve read the book, definitely check this one out.  If not, do your 10th grade homework that you’ve been putting off for 4 years and read the book.  Then go see the movie.  You’ll be happy you did.  Until next time Hushers!

written by Taylor Lowe