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The Great Gatsby Film Review

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by Tammy Facey (subscribe)
Read. Write. Run.
Published May 20th 2013
Fitzgerald's novel comes to life
It's the film everyone has been talking about for months. The wardrobe has inspired designers; hairdressers have been inundated with requests for a haircut in the style of the female lead, and film buffs pre-ordered their tickets weeks before its release. Before we all hot and bothered lets discuss the male lead: Leonardo Di Caprio.

The Great Gatsby

He will forever be known as the heartthrob hero (for me), but his leading role in the film in question and more recent roles are shaping him as an actor who has shaken off his schoolboy looks and is fashioning himself out to be a man who takes his craft seriously. But who can forget Leo as the love struck Romeo in the film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Julliet? Directed by none other than Baz Lurhmann, who is the director behind the visually stunning film adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby.

His screenplay sets every nerve on fire, the audience's whole fibre is shaken, and they are made to sit up and see the picture before them. Lurhmann's skill as a director is undeniable for he makes use of not just the aesthetics that make up a film, but a language we all speak: love.

The Great Gatsby, chandelier,
Oh the lights

Don't think me a silly romantic, for Lurhmann explores every emotion in Gatsby, which is one of the finest examples of his prowess as a director, and is a true display of the skill of each actor. But no, when I say love, I mean Lurhmann plays on an emotion the audience, and society, humanity knows so well, for it is something we all seek. The Great Gatsby is about love, passion, desire, want, lust, happiness and that elusive sweet spot that escapes us all.

Based on F.Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, there's that old adage that 'the film is never as good as the book'. And rightly so, I don't think a film could ever do a novel justice for they are two separate formats which are enjoyed on completely different scales. Cinema is a public experience, while reading a novel is private, hence the scandal surrounding E L James' novel.

Baz Lurhmann has created a piece of art, something dreamers couldn't dream up, or artists even create with a dialogue that has you hooked as soon as you hear Nick Carraway's (Toby McGuire) narrative. The film that has all the critics excited is a mirage of a 1920's backdrop (mostly green screen), bright, but also muted tones, an undercurrent of Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) being the woman we all love and detest at the same time.

Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby,
Daisy Buchanan

While Fitzgerald's Gatsby is set in 1922, the soundtrack to the film set's Gatsby firmly in the twenty-first century. The epic soundtrack is a feature of Lurhmann's films there are always a host of music artists, and it's no different with Gatsby, which features exclusive songs from the greats of our era: Jay Z, Lana Del Rey, Emile Sande, Nero, Andre 3000, Florence Welsh, and Beyonce perform songs that create an unmistakable Baz Lurhmann epic.

I remember sitting there realising I was watching myself - I could feel myself taken in, enveloped by the screenplay and words Daisy and Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio) were whispering to each other. I was sitting there agog like the rest of the audience desperately hoping, wishing the dramatic irony wouldn't kick in because you want a happy ending.

Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby, Leonardo Di Caprio
The look of love

It's rare that after a film I ask myself questions, I muse on the film definitely, but I rarely question my morals. However, after The Great Gatsby I found myself wondering where is the poetry in the way we live these days? Of course The Great Gatsby is a work of fiction, but any good film will leave you questioning something previously unquestioned, and wondering if a change can be made. You know a film was no less than epic, profound, wonderful and beautiful at the same time if you are left, like I was, wondering about the world. As Bobbie Lanahan F.Scott Fitzgerald's granddaughter - remarked on - "I think he got it just right."
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Your Comment
Beautifully written Miss Facey, I have to say, as a Luhrmann fan - I loved it too :)
by Mrs Dube (score: 1|77) 2744 days ago
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