REVIEW: THE GREAT GATSBY
SYNOPSIS: The Great Gatsby" follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
The time is the roaring 20s. The place is none other than New York, Long Island specifically. The who is pretty obvious. The what could be considered an obsession perhaps. The how is all about the Benjamins baby . . . money. The why is the same reason for so much in life, love. Many of us read this story in High School, but to be honest, I hardly remember a full sentence. What I do remember is that it is a good story written by a good author. After seeing this film, it just confirmed the fact. Now the movie is listed as an adaption of the novel so it might not be exactly like it, although I would have to say that it does it justice. What a literary work it is. It is a love story and a tragedy. It is larger than life and grandiose, and yet takes you to the core of human passion and desire. In this film, the story is masterfully presented and displayed. The beautiful Art Deco style is rampant throughout along with the overall decadence of the era. This movie is truly a visual spectacle as it would need to be to properly bring this story to the big screen. The visual aspect is arguably the best aspect of the film. Now, there is some debate as to the use of 3D for this movie. Priscilla and I saw it in 3D and even though, sure, it made it a little more spectacular, we wonder if it is really necessary. We think it could have been just as good without it. Keep that in mind when you’re at the box office. Another part of the visual treat is the costumes/wardrobe. It wouldn’t surprise me if it gets a nomination. Oh yeah, and another thing, I love that font used in the title screens and posters.
So the star of the show is the visual, followed closely by the story. Coming in third in this tight race is the performances. Within that category, the star of the show is undoubtedly Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo was perfectly cast for this role. I really don’t think anyone could have done any better. Priscilla mentioned that she totally felt Gatsby’s vulnerability as well as his nobility, thanks to a top notch performance. The main character in this story, however, is actually Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire. Tobey carried the movie well, being on screen more than anyone else as well as narrating and guiding us through this journey. I was a little skeptical about Carey Mulligan playing Daisy Buchanan, but she nailed it both in performance and beauty. She looked like an angel. Joel Edgerton also gave a strong performance as Tom Buchanan. An honorable mention goes to Isla Fisher who looked stunning in her small but potent and meaningful role as Myrtle. There was one aspect that struck a somewhat sour note for us, more so for Priscilla. The use of modern music in this period piece just seemed awkward. “It was the era of ‘Jazz Babies’ and the modern take didn’t work” Priscilla said. I mostly agree. It was a gamble that might have backfired a bit, but taking into consideration the Director, Baz Luhrmann, who is behind such works as Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, and Australia, it is more understandable as to why it was done. In this particular case, sticking with the music of the period might have worked better. As far as Baz’s performance, well let’s just say this movie fits very nicely in his repertoire. It is at least as good as the others. So if you’re looking for something artsy and enchanting in the midst of all the superhero flicks, this one is for you.
By Cine Marcos
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