The Great Gatsby Review

I’ve decided to turn my pen (keys) to criticising other people hard work, or as it’s more commonly referred to, reviews!

A few Fridays ago Christopher and I went to see The Great Gatsby.

I had been excited about this film for about a year and had very high expectations of it, only increased by the massive hype surrounding its release – the Cannes red carpets, the huge social media and TV presence, however, having now seen the film I have to say I think it was a little over-hyped.

I felt the performances were great, I always love Carey Mulligan’s acting skills and when has Tobey Maguire ever done a bad job? However, whilst Leonardo DiCaprio gives a convincing portrayal of Gatsby, he brings a childlike innocence and an endearing quality to the character that I didn’t feel was present in the book, indeed I feel it undermines the message of the book. Of course this is a common Hollywood ploy to add a heightened emotional element to a story. I couldn’t help but think this was yet another ‘Hollywood-ised’ manipulation of a text in order to make the film more appealing to a wider audience as opposed to enhancing the text for film.

With period films I’m usually more excited about seeing the costumes than I am the actual film, especially when it comes to a story set in the 1920s, but the styling of this film wasn’t as tantalising as I thought it would be, apart from the hats. I wanted every hat I saw, including the men’s ones but excluding that weird netted pirate thing Daisy has on her head when she goes to Nick’s house for tea. I felt the costumes were created to appeal more to a modern eye than to recall the glamour of the 20s in its glorious reality. It was much the same with the music of the film. I understand that Lurmann’s intention was to transcend the time via musical genre so that one could better understand the feel of the American 20s, by relating them to the American 00s. However, the music didn’t feel cutting edge or unusual or new, as jazz would have felt to society in the 20s. It was emotive and added to the film, but I don’t feel it achieved what it was intended to.The use of modern music in a period setting also gave the air of similarity between The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, to the point where I almost felt I’d seen the former before. I respect Baz Lurmann’s vision as a director and that he has a very distinctive style of movie making, but this felt like it had been made to a formula everyone has seen before, a few times before.

Even taking into consideration the good performances and enjoyable aspects of the film, the overall feel of the movie was a little obvious, un-original in the context of the director’s previous works and very much ‘Hollywood-ised’ to the point that the text felt more of an avenue for a glitzy film, than the inspiration for a good movie.

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