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Tanya Khoury: The Great Gatsby
June 07, 2013
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I have been avoiding this movie ever since those teaser posters/trailers were coming out over a year ago, but it was inevitable, as much as I didn’t want to see this version of the film I like Leo Di Caprio and was curious to see him and only him become Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann is a showman and as there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, however I have only liked one of his earlier films - Romeo and Juliet. For the sake of no bias, I decided to go into this movie or at least try to view it with a different eye, an eye magnified into 3D glasses.

This was very loud, very loud and very visual, it was quite overwhelming to the eyes, there were things moving from literally every part of the screen that the thing I found most frustrating was my ability to concentrate with the core message of the film. The actual story that Fitzgerald had created, the characters that he had envisioned, they were all drowned by the glitz and the glamour of special effects. The thing is though I did not hate it entirely, had this film been a regular film that was written and directed solely by Luhrmann, I wouldn’t have been that judgmental. It wasn’t though, and there was already an adapted version that was pretty decent, my main problem with this was that it didn’t capture the essence of the book.

The first thing that I had a problem with was the way the story was being told; the narration from Nick Carraway’s character at the hospital just undid things for me from the start. I also thought that the film was poorly cast, everyone except for Di Caprio was just lacking, Tobey Maguire did not do any justice to Nick’s character whatsoever. That was very distracting to me because the whole film revolved around his perspective, he felt like a lost kid in an overly expensive maze of a candy store, very misguided and flat. His character was just going nowhere and so that dragged things downward, because all the rest were equally as flat. Muligan’s character Daisy was trying too hard and I just couldn’t see that chemistry between her and Gatsby flourish. It felt too staged for my liking. That along with the ‘in your face’ soundtrack was much too much. The more I think about it the more I am surprised with my extreme reaction; this movie is typical of this director which is why I should not have such a problem with it. I think mainly because I liked the book too much, I was disappointed with the fact that the book was very lost in the film.

DiCaprio on the other hand was a delight to watch, I like him and I like how he just marinates completely and entirely into whatever character he is given, it becomes impossible to see him as anybody else. He lifted the entire film on his shoulders; the whole 142 minutes would have been very difficult to get through otherwise. He understood the story and he played it just right, you could tell that every line was studied, this was a well- rounded character. The picture was impressive, even though I don’t like this whole 3D effect, it would be foolish to say that there was no effort put into it. My opinion on that is irrelevant; it was impressive to those special effect enthusiasts and the oohs and aahs were very expected. To me though, it was all DiCaprio and because of that the film gets a 6/10.

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