Friday, May 10, 2013
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby has lived as many previous incarnations, but its newest is directed by Baz Luhrmann, known for such lavish spectacles as Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet (1996), which Leonardo DiCaprio also starred in. I really liked Luhrmann's version, however, and it brings a certain amount of glitz to the story that was previously missing in film adaptations.
Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) lives in West Egg (Long Island) and is known for throwing fantastic parties. But the man himself is a mystery; not many people have met the host behind all of these fabulous soirees. Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a writer-turned-stock-broker, lives in a tiny cottage next to the Gatsby estate, and one day receives a handwritten invitation to Gatsby's next party. He arrives at Gatsby's with his invitation in hand, only to find out that he was the only one who received an invitation - everyone else from the area knows to just show up. He meets Gatsby, and later in the film Gatsby has a request for him: to invite Nick's cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), a married woman, to tea, so that he can be reunited with her. Five years ago, when Gatsby was an officer in the war, they were deeply in love, but she later married Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), a rich man, when she found out Gatsby was penniless.
We later find out that everything - the house, the riches, the whole persona - was for Daisy, as Gatsby, who is very naive, always believed he would win her back. And for a time, he does: they have a summer affair at his place, while her husband Tom continued to carry on with his mistress, Myrtle (Isla Fisher), and no one is the wiser. But when he decides that Daisy should leave her husband for him, a series of unfortunate events happens, and things only get worse from there.
Leo and Tobey Maguire were fantastic in their roles, Leo especially. Nick Carraway (Maguire) is the narrator of both the book and this movie, and we see all of these events unfold before his eyes. When the movie starts out, he's in a rehab clinic of sorts, where he has "morbid alcoholism," according to his doctor's papers, and his doctor encourages him to write about the events from that summer, if he doesn't wish to talk about it. His story comes alive to us, the audience, when the words start to pour onto the pages.
Yes, definitely see this movie. The film was in 3D and although I didn't think it was really necessary, it did enhance some scenes - words fly out of the screen and fireworks and other things tend to "pop" in 3D. I read The Great Gatsby in high school and remembered the gist of the plot, although unfortunately not the ending, but you most certainly don't have to have read the book to see this movie. After the film was over, it stayed in my mind for a long time, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again, although I would say that it's about twenty to thirty minutes too long - it clocks in at a runtime of about 2 hours and 20 minutes - and would have benefited from being shorter. The music in the movie was fantastic as well, and if you listen closely, you can hear echoes of the main theme ("Will You Still Love Me," by Lana Del Rey, which fits perfectly) throughout the film.
The Great Gatsby is in theaters today, May 10th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 143 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.