2013 Movie Reviews: The Great Gatsby

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This was a movie I held back on seeing for a while, mostly because it was shaping up to this year’s Anna Karenina, which I thought had a good story but wasn’t executed very well. I decided to get the Gatsby audiobook, (This goes without saying, but it’s a wonderful novel.) so I could look at the film as an adaptation. I’m aware that the film got bad reviews, and I can understand why, but come on. It’s based one of the best books ever written and stars a very talented cast, so how could anyone screw it up?

Nick Calloway (Tobey Maguire) is an inspiring young writer who just moved next to the loudest neighbor anyone’s ever had, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) a rich man who throws extravagant parties yet rarely appears publicly. As Nick gets accustomed to New York with his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton. But there’s something about Gatsby in particular that intrigues Nick.

At first, I was worried about Baz Luhrmann’s direction. There was CGI everywhere, every shot lasted about four seconds, and many scenes weren’t exactly subtle. So, he ruined the movie? No. In fact, I don’t think anyone could really ‘ruin’ The Great Gatsby.

Point one: Fantastic story with fantastic dialogue. Point two: The visuals. Granted, I didn’t see this in 3D, and there are moments where you can tell they’re trying to take advantage of it. But still, if this is what the 20’s were like, I’m grabbing a time machine right now. Point three: the score. “Young And Beautiful” had better earn an original song nomination. Partly because I can’t get it out of my head.

Then we have the acting. Maguire, Mulligan, and Edgerton all played their parts well, but DiCaprio pushed his acting ability to a whole new level. He pulls it together perfectly, especially in his final scene. However, I would argue that his role is supporting, if for no other reason than I don’t want him to compete with Forrest Whittaker.

Let me put it this way. If Michael Bay were to direct a version of Of Mice And Men, no matter what Bay added to it, as long as the story, the symbolism, and the moral were still there, It would be a good film. The direction was not the greatest, but everybody else worked their hardest, and it shows.

****1/2

 

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