Wild Young Minds: 'The Great Gatsby': a perfect, irresistible imagination

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

'The Great Gatsby': a perfect, irresistible imagination

Always tricky, adapting a great, great book for the screen. F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the writers of whom I hope to read a lot more in the future, since the first book I read made a huge impression on me: 'The Great Gatsby'. When I heard they were planning a film with Leonardo Dicraprio and Carey Mulligan in the leading roles, my heart stopped beating. Little did I know Tobey Maguire would play Fitzgerald himself, an unsuitable choice. The 3D effects weren't great either, but I do have to say I enjoyed the festive spectacle the film has become. As a few guys who were sitting me behind we were saying: 'It was just like a fairy-tale'. It was, it definitely was. A fairy-tale, a dream or an imaginary world. It was perfect and irresistible to look at, just like Mr. Gatsby himself.

The story of 'The Great Gatsby' is told by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who is a young aspiring writer who has just moved to New York in order to earn money and learn the bond business. It is 1922, the beginning of the Roaring Twenties and things are hectic in New York, in a very positive way. Nick has rented a house in West Egg, next to Gatsby's castle. His cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), married to the rich Tom, lives in East Egg, totally opposite from Nick's house. When he joins them for dinner, he is introduced to the luxury life of the rich in New York. Daisy is bored, spents her time in her fabulous house with her fabulous friends drinking fabulous drinks and wearing fabulous clothes. Tom is constantly cheating on her, but he has one particular mistress, Myrtle Wilson, who lives in a chubby home in the wrong part of the city: the Valley of Ashes.

Nick Carraway soon hears from his neighbour: The Great Gatsby (Leonardo Dicaprio). There's a giant mystery surrounding Gatsby. Nobody knows how the young man has earned all of his money and what his story is. One night, Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's extravagant parties. He's the only one with an invitation, since the entire city just goes there uninvited. Nick meets Gatsby via Jordan Baker, who is a famous sporter and one of Daisy's best friends. Gatsby and Nick meet several times and Nick realizes Gatsby wants something from him. It turns out he wants Nick to arrange a tea date between him and Daisy.

Gatsby and Daisy had an extremely passionate love five years ago, until Gatsby had to join the army. Daisy waited for him, but eventually stopped waiting and married Tom. After the War, Gatsby longed for nothing but Daisy and he bought a giant house across the bay from Daisy's house. He always saw a green light at the other side of the water. Gatsby is extremely nervous before the date, but things go well and he shows Daisy his mansion and all of his wealth.

Daisy and Gatsby relive their past again and want nothing but being with each other. Meanwhile, nobody may know they are together, so Gatsby stops throwing parties and fires all his employees. But his perfect life isn't perfect enough, because he needs Daisy to tell Tom she never loved him, in order to live together. This is something Daisy finds extremely difficult. During lunch, which Gatsby, Nick, Jordan, Daisy and Tom are attending, Tom finds out Gatsby and his wife are having an affair and he goes crazy. Gatsby pushes Daisy to tell Tom she never loved him, but she can't. This is when things are really getting out of hand...

First of all, I have nothing negative to say about the story. I think Fitzgerald's novel is one of extreme quality. The loneliness and mystery of Gatsby, the indifference of Tom and Daisy and with them the rich people and the roaring but at the same time pessimistic era of the twenties. These themes are all worked out extremely fine.

The producers of the film did a good job showing this on screen. It was all a bit more extravagant and exaggerated on screen, which would've been okay, if not for the 3D-effects. These made some scenes more like a carnival in stead of a party. Maybe this was also because of the modern hits in it, like Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'No church in the wild' and a few songs of Lana del Rey and Beyoncé.

As for the actors, I think most of them were casted very well. Leonardo Dicaprio played a convincing Gatsby, apart from the unsuccesful accent (was it British? was it wealthy? was it both? I don't know!) and the sometimes childish moments, but that could also have been due to the fact he's still in my memory as Jack in Titanic. I have to say Leonardo Dicaprio, or maybe Gatsby, for the fact he's so damaged and passionate, is my dream man. I would have no difficulty saying no to my husband in that case ;) Carey Mulligan was charming as Daisy. Naive but impervious. Sadly, Tobey Maguire was really annoying. He was too foolish, too dumb and too enthusiastic to play a neutral part. 

All in all, 'The Great Gatsby' is a gigantic feast where you wish you would've been part of (except from all the drama of course!) and to look at it, is definitely perfect and irresistible. Some parts could've been a bit more subtile and less exaggerated and the 3D could be totally left out, if you ask me. But the story is great and if you are no big reader, you should definitely see this film because the story of 'The Great Gatsby' needs to be spread.

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