The Great Gatsby: With or without the book
The Great Gatsby
Warner Bros. Pictures
Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby Maguire
May 10th, 2013
Quick preface to the reader — prior to watching the movie I have no experience with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic book. Because of this I am judging it based upon the movie alone.
That being said, this movie took what little expectations I had and destroyed them. Many prior romance tales I have read or watched have been prettied up gushy tales of romance. This movie is so much more than that.
Nick Carraway, played by Toby Maguire of Spiderman fame, moves to New York to catch on to the riches of the Wall Street Boom during the 20s.
When he arrives he is caught into a world of decadence as he quickly becomes a confidant in the love affairs of his cousin Daisy and the titular Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and also the affair of Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan and his mistress Myrtle Wilson.
This is perfectly summarized in the line “I watch from within and without” showing that though he is part of this world, he feels an outsider.
This movies greatest strength is that it almost perfectly captures the chaos and wild nihilism of the flapper years. Not only is nearly every costume detailed in material and design to match those of nearly a century ago, but the music played by the characters also has a very 1920’s feel to it.
It also features large majestic shots of both New York and the Gatsby mansion filled with colour and sparkles — again capturing the inherent energy associated with the decade. Though on that note, I would not be surprised if a fifthof the movies budget was used in buying confetti.
The actors also do an amazing job of twisting your emotions. Tom Buchanan, played by Joel Edgerton, is a slimy old money man who cheats on his wife, yet abuses her for daring to do the same.
Leonardo DiCaprio creates the perfect image of a man who lost the girl he loves and built himself up from penniless to extravagant wealth all for her. However his incredibly bad, though consistent, accent and his over use of “old sport” does wear on the viewer.
Carey Mulligan as Daisy truly makes the viewer torn over which man she will choose and who she loves the most. Finally Toby Maguire portrays a young man lost in this world he doesn’t quite understand.
Of all the movies I have set my sights on viewing this one caused the most conflict for me as to what recommendation I can give. I can’t compare it to the book as I have haven’t read it, yet if I had would that have changed my opinion? To be honest I believe it wouldn’t have.
This movie creates a tale of people trying to choose what their life’s love is and ultimately coming to a tragic and heart-wrenching conclusion. I would recommend this movie to any looking for a very story and character driven tale — but to be avoided by the fans of more action-oriented, explosive films.
My final word is that I would give this film an 8/10. I believe this was more than worth my time and money.