Sunday, May 12, 2013
The Great Gatsby: A modern take on a timeless tale
Director Baz Luhrmann brought writer F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel to life, through the works of talented actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton. Luhrmann has a unique vision for the work he creates. In 1996, Luhrmann modernized one of William Shakespeare’s most tragic plays, Romeo and Juliet, which also starred DiCaprio. Everything in the film was up to date, except for the dialogue. In The Great Gatsby everything is set in the 1920’s except for the music. The film begins with Nick Carraway (Maguire) describing his life living next door to the great Jay Gatsby. He resides in a mental institution retelling the psychiatrist his tales of the lavish parties and luxurious life Gatsby charmed him with. But, the parties come to an end, and the beautiful life of millionaire Gatsby turns dark. Carraway can’t speak the pain and disgust he endured on Long Island that summer, so the doctor encourages him to write his narrative to give him solace, and thus begins The Great Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby is engulfed with diamonds, posh fashion and the embodiment of classic beauties. Luhrmann does a fantastic job showcasing the fabulous life of Gatsby with his gorgeous castle of a home, his perfect fitted suits and his flashy cars. Most people didn’t like the aspect of the film with modern music, but as a fan of Luhrmann's Romeo and Julietand knowing there would be modern hip hop songs, it was enjoyable and actually fit into some scenes perfectly. Every scene in the film flaunted some sort of extravagance. Whether it be clothes, houses, cars, or even the characters Luhrmann was not afraid to make everything big and over the top for this classic tale. He also displayed certain words and phrases in quotes as Nick Carraway was typing them on screen, which was an interesting glimpse into the beloved novel.
The Great Gatsby was bursting with talent. DiCaprio portrays one of the most iconic characters of all time, and he played him brilliantly. DiCaprio encapsulated everything Jay Gatsby was, as this lonely character striving to provide everything for his dear love, Daisy (Mulligan). DiCaprio has a rare gift when it comes to acting, in some scenes even when he wasn’t speaking, the audience knew exactly what he was thinking and feeling as he was conveying them through his eyes and facial expressions. His subtext is out of this world remarkable. No one could’ve played the role like DiCaprio, he never disappoints. Carey Mulligan was also brilliant, she portrays another tragic character, as a woman who is forced to marry a man who is unfaithful, but when given a second chance to rekindle the love she had before her husband, she tragically loses it yet again. Mulligan was enticing, and enjoyable to watch. She was easy to fall in love with and in the end easy to detest. Tobey Maguire was an absolute delight to watch as this tragic story unfolded. His facial expressions and actions during some of the most uncomfortable situations were perfect. His voiceovers as he narrated his summer were enthralling and captivating. He brought a wonderful sense of innocence and naivety to the character and throughout the course of the film, his character becomes more developed and proves there is more to Nick Carraway then just a poor Wall St. boy. He’s a great friend, and believes in letting the truth be known no matter who is involved. Joel Edgerton delivered a fine performance as well, as Tom Buchanan. He’s loud, burly and makes the audience instantly root against him. But, his character like Maguire’s character also goes through the film developing more layers and proving there is more to him than just a cheating, lying husband. When his relationship with Daisy is strained, he turns desperate and begs to tell her how he always comes home to her, and how much he truly loves her. When tragedy strikes, his world is lost and his character is heartbreaking to endure. Each main character in the film suffers a heart wrenching existence, and each actor perfects that sense of tragedy.
In conclusion, The Great Gatsby is highly recommended to anyone that enjoys Baz Luhrmann’s work, dramatic movies, and great acting. It is also recommended to anyone who enjoys films packed with romance, elegance and the thought that money will never buy everything and love has the power to conquer all.