Beauty and the Best

Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby- Movie Review - Tabria Majors

"The Great Gatsby" follows Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a wealthy man from the midwest, who moves to West Egg just outside New York City. He quickly becomes entangled in the love life of his radiant but shallow and self-absorbed cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), when he moves into a mansion next door to Jay Gatsby. Gatsby (DiCaprio) is a mysterious man with a flair for lavish parties who, as Nick describes, has “an unprecedented gift for hope.” Nick soon becomes entrenched in Gatsby’s single-minded hope to relive the past and win over Daisy, the woman he fell in love with five years before who is now married to the even more shallow, not to mention adulterous, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).

However, this story is not one of love; rather, it tells the tragedy of the American Dream gone wrong. In “The Great Gatsby,” this thought-provoking message is mixed in with heavy partying, especially considering the story takes place during the roaring 20s. All of the characters are a dangerous combination of rich and bored. The most outstanding aspect of the film’s production, other than DiCaprio's performance, is its anachronistic use of music. One moment you're listening to George Gershwin, the next it’s contemporary rifts from Jay-Z. Interestingly enough, this actually works for the movie. It represents the spectacular social divide between the 1% and 99% we see today.

The lack of subtlety can be grating but it's obvious that director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge) intended for the material to be loud. It's over-the-top, extravagant parties, filled with glittering chandeliers and armies of servants, signifies the careless elite partying as if it were the end of the world (which it almost was; the Great Depression was right around the corner). All of this is enhanced (or worsened, depending on your stance) by the dramatic CGI effects. Admittedly, it was quite aggravating at first. But ultimately it seemed befitting to the film - representative of the Roaring Twenties and also refreshing after the 1974's dull, melancholy version.

Leonardo DeCaprio is at the top of his game here. He was practically born to play Jay Gatsby, an irresistible gentleman in the sun who hides a secret in the dark and longs for a woman who may never be his. His mix of desperation, hope, outlandishness and love comes through incredibly, making you both love and hate him--exactly what I like about the character of Jay Gatsby. I wasn't too impressed with the rest of the cast, with the exception of Joel Edgerton, who plays Tom Buchanan. Tobey Maguire was decent, nothing stellar. I was a bit disappointed with Carrey Mulligan's performance though, as she failed to convey the duality of her character effectively.

"The Great Gatsby" is a wonderful story, and I enjoyed seeing the book brought to life in a way that stayed true to the text.I was impressed with how they managed to portray the characters complexly, and the multi-dimensional story itself. If you're not into lavish, over the top filming, then this probably isn't for you. If you can withstand quick pan zooming and the ravenous party scenes, then go check it out -- at least at a matinee.

What did you think of the film old sport?

Byline: Tabria Majors

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