The Great Gatsby
- This topic has 5 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 7 months ago by Anonymous.
May 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm #419Natasha RodriguezParticipant
The Great Gatsby (2013), directed by Baz Luhrmann, is a gorgeous modern adaptation of the American classic. In 2011, when I first heard about the makings of this movie, I was very excited and even more excited that Leonardo DiCaprio was going to play Jay Gatsby. When I finally watched this movie for the first time in 2013, I wanted to re-watch it right away. The story of The Great Gatsby is told very well and the acting of the cast was superb. Although this movie was well-done, it is still not perfect.
In this adaptation, Tobey Maguire plays Nick Carraway which works nicely. Immediately in the beginning of the movie, the audience hears Tobey’s narration and one is able to hear sadness in his voice, indicating that the character has seen and experienced a lot. For those who do not know the story of Gatsby very well, the addition of the therapist speaking to Nick was a great way of foreshadowing later events in the film. Even as someone who knows the story, I liked the addition of the therapist and the fact that the story of Gatsby was a flashback. It characterized Nick greatly and helped the story along, since in the book itself Nick is telling the story from a future perspective. Thus, the story is meant to be told that way in the movie as well.
One aspect of the movie that I was not fond of was the hyper-active feel behind some of the scenes. For instance, in the scene where Gatsby is driving Nick in his yellow car to the city for lunch, Gatsby is driving recklessly and it is filmed in such a way that I was reminded of a chase scene from an action movie. In my opinion, this isn’t necessary. Gatsby may be hurrying his sentences or choking on them, but the car ride itself does not have to be rushed in order for it to be interesting. The same feel is also shown in a later scene where Gatsby, Tom, Nick, Jordan, and Daisy are going into the city. Tom and Gatsby are driving different cars and are both speeding. In fairness, the scene is symbolic of their heated competition for Daisy, but the speeding of the cars does not contribute much to the movie.
The music for this film is another aspect of the movie that was not done perfectly. I understand Luhrmann’s desire to incorporate modern-day music into a movie set in the 1920s so that the movie is more relatable. Yet, some of the songs worked while some did not. Perhaps I am biased since I am not a Jay-Z fan, but I think that his raps did nothing for the scenes in the movie, and if anything, they distracted the audience from what was occurring on screen. For instance, hearing the words “hunnid dollar bill, real” during the scene where Gatsby and Nick are with Meyer Wolfsheim felt out of place for the setting entirely. However, Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” worked. It wasn’t incredibly out of place and was certainly not distracting during any of the scenes.
I liked the casting for this film very much. Casting for The Great Gatsby is a challenge since the characters in the book are interpreted differently by everyone who reads it. Leonardo DiCaprio plays rich and mysterious Gatsby very well. Carey Mulligan as Daisy is not a bad choice. Mulligan’s acting is very believable and her interpretation of how to play Daisy is much more desirable than Mia Farrow’s in the 1974 adaptation. Daisy, as careless and selfish as she is, seems somewhat deserving of sympathy through Mulligan’s acting. This was most likely one of the only faults of Mulligan in her playing Daisy. Joel Edgerton, who plays Tom Buchanan, did an excellent job of portraying Tom’s aggressive character.
Despite some of the movie’s flaws, The Great Gatsby (2013) is a good movie and displays a good, modern-day retelling of the famous story.May 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm #430Michael AugelloParticipant
I agree that the sadness comes through in Nick’s narration, but throughout the entire movie, I feel like Nick is a little bit too aloof and goofy. In the book, Nick is lost, and is searching for anything that makes sense. He has no idea what he wants in life and is juxtaposed with a character in Gatsby who knows exactly what he wants. In the book, Nick has an actual relationship with Jordan that he likes, but eventually throws away. I can think of Nick specifically in the scene where the landscapers come to fix up his house – he has a quirky smile on, and everything is coming together around him, and another scene when he is in his office at work and looks so happy to be there. The despair and loneliness Nick feels is only displayed in the narration and cuts to the mental hospital, and a lot less during the actual recalling of the movie, which makes specifically the line, “I almost forgot, today is my birthday,” completely meaningless, because it is not placed in that depressed context. Of course, a director has to pick and choose when dealing with a novel as esteemed as this, so I can understand the oversight.May 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm #431Jo-Ann WongParticipant
Personally for me, I loved the music choices for this version of the film. For the 1920’s, jazz was considered a part of counter-culture and transgressing boundaries set by classical music at the time. However, jazz is now considered a part of that classical repertoire while hip-hop and rap are becoming almost like the “jazz” of our generation. To me, while not fully representative of the 1920’s, I thought the music of the movie caught the rawness and “dangerous” nature jazz had upon the age for a modern age. Also, a lot of the songs hearken back to jazz styles, such as Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” and will.i.am’s “Bang Bang,” which both incorporate eletroswing to connect the 1920’s to modern music. Other songs which are used as motifs, such as the appearance of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” whenever Gatsby and Daisy are together, are also used in multiple styles. For instance, there is the classical rendition with no vocals and an orchestra while the version with Lana Del Rey is more representative of older pop songs (in my opinion). On the other hand, there is a jazz version played during the second party scene which incorporated swing style as well.May 6, 2014 at 11:27 am #433Melissa TempletonParticipant
I think you’re right in saying that Nick’s character in the movie doesn’t necessarily line up with the character in the book, but that’s because they aren’t supposed to. In the book we are hidden from seeing and feeling exactly as Nick felt during that time because the narrator is interjecting his sad reflection on the story. However, in the movie, we get to see exactly what happened to Nick as it is happening. We still get interjections from the jaded present time Nick, but it is not cloaked over the entire movie, as is the Nick narrator in the novel. Therefore, we get to see Nick actually happy in the past, because at the time – he was. In the novel, we aren’t granted that luxury because the entire thing is a narration from a now jaded character.May 6, 2014 at 11:27 am #434Melissa TempletonParticipant
I think you’re right in saying that Nick’s character in the movie doesn’t necessarily line up with the character in the book, but that’s because they aren’t supposed to. In the book we are hidden from seeing and feeling exactly as Nick felt during that time because the narrator is interjecting his sad reflection on the story. However, in the movie, we get to see exactly what happened to Nick as it is happening. We still get interjections from the jaded present time Nick, but it is not cloaked over the entire movie, as is the Nick narrator in the novel. Therefore, we get to see Nick actually happy in the past, because at the time – he was. In the novel, we aren’t granted that luxury because the entire thing is a narration from a now jaded character.
May 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm #436AnonymousInactive
- This reply was modified 9 years, 7 months ago by Melissa Templeton.
I absolutely agree with Jo-Ann’s post, I really loved the music for the film. The music made the film extremely outlandish, which I feel, is a huge part of Gatsby in himself. I really enjoyed how a specific set of songs followed throughout the movie in a sense defining Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship. The jazz music chosen was re-vitalized by a modern twist, playing into the movie as a whole, and I think that for this specific movie it worked. I can see how many would dislike the modernity of the film and the music undoubtedly creates this vibe, but I think it was a cool and interesting take on a classic novel.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.