It is truly incredible what we can achieve nowadays with the advances in the arts. We can create and recreate entire worlds, lifestyles, stories, histories, and adventures with just a little movie magic. Placing eleventh on IMDb’s “Top 20 Highest Grossing Movies of 2013 (So Far),” director Baz Luhrmann brought us an incredible rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (no matter what anyone says about the music).
Having deeply engaged in the bazinga book as a teenager and college student, I feel as though it was perfect to open the movie with word-for-word lines taken from the book and spoken by Nick Carraway (played by Tobey Maguire). It immediately throws the audience into the roaring, bustling, busy, money-spending twenties in a world where the rich and famous are graced by the presence of the one and only Jay Gatsby. The class distinction between the “haves” and “have-nots” was beautifully displayed with the perfect placement of the ever-looming eyes of T.J. Eckleburg on the billboard near George Wilson’s mechanic’s shop. It was the perfect tip-of-the-hat towards Fitzgerald; who, of course, would have been overwhelmingly proud of the movie’s production.
The vibrant use of costumes solidified the world of women who just didn’t care and men who had money to spend. Australian costume designer Catherine Martin truly captured the look and feel of the wild and crazy 1920s from head-to-toe jewelry, accessories, dresses, suits, and so much more. She used colors that exploded off the screen and drew eyes in all directions to produce the overwhelming desire to take in the entire world. They matched but never blended with the outstanding sets and backgrounds. Luhrmann completely understands the use of imagery and the world around us to draw our attention.
Of course there has been great dispute over the music used. Jack White’s “Love is Blindness” appears on the soundtrack and is by far the best if one is wishing to relive the powerful scene with Myrtle Wilson, the mistress of Daisy’s husband. However, the music, though contemporary, captures the adventurous attitude Fitzgerald created in the book.With his talent of description and attention to detail it was easy to see and hear the world of risk-taking adventures and parties of Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby. This year’s movie did not disappoint at all. Adding a modern twist to classic jazz and big band music suddenly made The Great Gatsby feel incredibly current, as did the universal plot and relatable characters.
All the actors were wonderful and were perfect fits for their characters. Carey Mulligan did a fabulous job in her rendition of the beautiful and innocent Daisy Buchanan. Her role was matched with her co-star and Daisy’s love interest, Jay Gatsby played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Tobey Maguire was unforgettable as he stepped up to take the lead as Nick Carraway. He truly has out-shone his past role as Spiderman. Although he will forever be known as the acrobatic hero, he did not let me down in The Great Gatsby.
If you have not seen this movie it is a must see! Obviously book lovers will tell you to read the book first, and in this case everyone should because The Great Gatsby is an American classic. Though some things were missed in the film (like the relationship between Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker and the heart-stopping scene where Gatsby’s father mysteriously shows up, uninvited, at Nick Carraway’s door to attend his son’s funeral) it was nearly spot on with the text. As I said before, Fitzgerald himself wouldn’t be disappointed. Pick it up at your local Slackers today!