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Is The Great Gatsby In The Pocket?

Updated: Tuesday, May 14 2013, 04:34 AM CDT
By Ken The Critic @kenthecritic

Grade: C

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has been interpreted several times on the silver screen, once a silent film in the 1920s, and again with Robert Redford in the 1970s. Now it’s a new century and Director Baz Luhrmann brings the same look to his rendering of “The Great Gatsby” that he had in “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo Juliet.” Landscapes of saturated colors throughout the film makes you feel like you are in some euphoric dream. He creates 1920s Jazz Age New York with incredible visuals. However, he did not stay as faithful to the novel as one would have hoped for. One of the most talked about scenes in the book was changed for the film. Major discussions have taken place about Nick Carraway’s sexual preference, especially in the scene where Nick is standing in his underwear next the bed of a man named Mr. McKee while McKee shows him photographs. This is eliminated in Luhrmann’s interpretation which changes maybe why Nick was so enamoured with Jay Gatsby in the first place. This in addition to making Daisy out to be the martyr and her husband, Tom Buchanan to be a viscous man were not their personalities in the book. But it’s a free country and Luhrmann takes liberties in creating his characters.   

In “The Great Gatsby”, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is fascinated by the extravagant life of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Gatsby throws lavish parties where everyone in Long Island shows up without invitation. Most of these party goers haven’t even met Jay Gatsby, but his palace is the place to be. Nick realizes that his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), is very familiar with Gatsby. When they were younger, they were very much in love. Now she has married another man, but then Nick reacquaints her with Gatsby. When they can’t stay away from each other, Daisy realizes that there might just be something dreadful to come.  

Everyone in this film overacts as if we are to believe that everyone in this time period was very animated. Even DiCaprio is more melodramatic than he should be. Gatsby is surpose to be intense at times, but this makes the film seem artificial. I would like to say Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of The Great Gatsby is in the pocket, but with the overacting an leaving a lot out from the book, it drops a couple of notches for me. I do appreciate the nod to F. Scott Fitzgerald with words from the book appearing across the screen during several narrated parts. You may or may not enjoy the soundtrack with Luhrmann mixing hip-hop with jazz, even Jay-Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A),” but at least the characters don’t sign the songs that were suppose to be after their time like they do in “Moulin Rouge.” 

Ken’s Movie Review Grading Scale

A – Superb and solid; a movie that will be etched in your mind 10 years from now

B – Good movie, so good in fact that you would want to see it again before it’s out of the        theaters; the story may drag in places

C – Average, entertaining at parts; you might want to wait and rent it

D – Lacks a lot from entertainment, plot, realism, development, etc.

F – Terrible and you will want to walk out of the movie; no redemptive qualities whatsoever  
Is The Great Gatsby In The Pocket?

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