Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Much has been written about The Great Gatsby, which many consider to be "the great American novel." It's a fantastic book and that is why I'm not going to speak much about the film's story: it's already been covered by everyone else.

The most recent adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, The Great Gatsby, contains all of the novel's major themes. It is a faithful adaptation except for the context in which Nick Carraway narrates it. In the novel, he is merely telling the story to tell the story. In this movie, he is in a sanitarium telling the story to his doctor. Apparently he becomes an alcoholic after the events of the novel. This major detail shifted unnecessary focus onto Nick and could easily have been left out.

Leonardo DiCaprio is superb as Gatsby, especially during the high-tension scene in the rented parlor room. Tobey Maguire's performance could have been better, but it's not distracting.

The greatest thing about this film is that it brings the novel into a new generation. Gatsby's parties are not only extravagant and fancy, but youthfully wild and chaotic. The car chases are amped up with a bit of CGI that adds some excitement to a rather dialogue heavy story. These details make the film more appealing to a younger audience and will hopefully introduce them to one of the greatest pieces of American literature.

The soundtrack, which is modern and not period, is surprisingly appropriate and makes the parties feel cool and dangerous. It will undoubtedly become known as one of the best soundtracks of 2013.

Besides the added details about Nick, I don't have any problems with this movie. If I'm not excited, it's because it's just not the novel.

1 comment:

  1. I liked how they put Nick in the sanitarium. A lot of times in the book Carraway is just third-wheeling it hardcore, and I'm like, "Why are you even here? Is this even your story to tell?" In the book, we don't find out til the last chapter how profoundly Gatsby's demise affected Nick. I feel like establishing that upfront in the movie gives credibility to him as the narrator. Plus, there's something deeply metaphorically resonant about alcohol in this story: Gatsby doesn't drink, but Nick is an alcoholic.