The good Gatsby


Staff Writer

A visual extravaganza is one of the many ways to describe “The Great Gatsby”. Director Baz Luhrmann went all-out to bring us one of his signature films. It’s loud, vibrant and fun. However, when we look past the razzle dazzle, we find a film that chooses style over substance.

The movie, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” follows Nick Carraway, a young stockbroker who helps the naive Gatsby to try and win back the love of his life, Daisy. Throughout the film, Nick witnesses the lives of everyone from the rich and careless citizens of New York to the poverty-stricken people of the Valley of Ashes.

It’s a Luhrmann film, so there’s no doubt that the movie is pure intoxicating eye-candy. Luhrmann does a fantastic job of bringing Fitzgerald’s poetic descriptions to the big screen. Epic sets, wonderful costumes and visually stunning CGI all help bring the spirit of Fitzgerald’s novel to life.

I also loved how Luhrmann perfectly recreated some of the most iconic scenes of the book. One of the movie’s more impressive scenes is the famous reunion scene between Gatsby and Daisy. For those ten minutes the audience felt the sense of pure happiness that is portrayed in the book. Even small nuances such as the rain were visually like every detail from the novel.

However, Luhrmann falls short of recreating other crucial moments the book, which upset me a little. The introduction of Daisy’s daughter and the return of Gatsby’s father are completely excluded from the movie. The resulting gaps are filled with plot-weakening narrations by Tobey Maguire.

Despite plot weaknesses, the film was cast almost to perfection. Leonardo DiCaprio gives an Oscar worthy performance as Gatsby. Throughout the film, viewers will empathize with the man who is trying to win back the love of his life. The same can be said for actress Carrey Mulligan, who uses Daisy’s southern charm to make viewers fall in love with her, much like Gatsby, only to despise her in the end. Even the supporting actors are memorable. Joel Edgerton’s performance as the egotistical Tom Buchanan and Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of the suave Jordan Baker were both faithful to their novel’s counterparts.

However, Luhrmann made one fatal mistake in the casting process: casting Tobey Maguire as the main character, Nick. Although Maguire plays a convincing Peter Parker in “Spiderman,” his acting skills as Nick Carraway were far inferior to other members of the cast, and his narrations throughout the movie are recited in a monotonous and boring tone of voice.

Overall, The Great Gatsby is a visually stunning film full of striking aesthetics and superb acting. However, Tobey Maguire’s lackluster portrayal of Nick Carraway and a lack of plot hinder the film from becoming the true masterpiece it could have been.

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