The Great Gatsby is a film adapted from a novel of the same name written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann and stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), Joel Edgerton (Tom Buchanan), Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway) and Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan).
The film is told through the storied eyes of Nick Carraway as he recounts what happened when he met the Great Gatsby.It’s a narrated type of story which I think worked well in explaining the characters. If I had to mention something about the novel and this film, it’s that they were completely different. I don’t know what book Baz Luhrmann read before he made this movie but it’s not the same Great Gatsby I read! I never would have imagined this movie to have so much difference in style. But I’m not really writing a review to compare the book to the movie, but to review the movie. So was the movie good?
I found myself quite enjoying the Great Gatsby, at 142 minutes long I felt it passed quickly and character stories were well told. One of the things I really liked about the Great Gatsby was because of the narration type of approach to its story telling the audience was able to really understand the Gatsby character. It’s not often in movies where we are given narration but I like this style at times because it gives quite a lot of insight into character motivations and in terms of Gatsby I thought it was well done. I thought Tobey Maquire fit his role well as Nick Carraway for the film and I enjoyed his narration and his perspective on the world of Gatsby’s based on what he saw as he was invited into it.
Another thing I really liked about the film was the character dynamics between the stars of the film. I thought everyone was very well acted and well cast for their roles. As the movie progressed and we learnt more about the Gatsby character as told through the eyes of Carraway I started to find each of the characters and their dynamic interaction interesting. Carraway was always around sort of watching, while Gatsby was all about his dreams and his hope for his life while Daisy was made to fit into it all. Tom Buchanan played by Joel Edgerton was at times an awkward character though but I don’t really have any complaints, but from Carraway’s impression given of him he is the one presented the most negative.
In terms of the directing of this film by Baz Lurhmann, I thought it was a very interesting style choice for the film. Having seen quite a few Baz Lurmann films such as Romeo and Juliet (also with Leonardo Dicaprio) and Australia I would say the Great Gatsby is this directors best work. Anyone who’s watched his films notices they are usually quite over the top, the backgrounds and parties are always crazy, everything is crazy in them. Is the Great Gatsby a crazy movie? Yes.
In looking at the directing choices for telling this story as I mentioned I loved the narration part of the film. I do have questions however about the music choices during the weekly Gatsby parties and also the other musical sections of this movie. I didn’t really understand why those songs were in the movie as they don’t fit the time period. But then we kept being shown images of New York being built here and there in between scenes. I guess it was suggesting something about New York being a city of the future or that parties just haven’t changed. Either way I think the music choices would divide some people in terms of if they liked it or not. But the way I look at it, it’s not like it wasn’t promised to have crazy music and style, it was in the trailer! So we did get what was advertised.
In terms of the style of the film I liked it. I don’t know about how things looked in the 3D version of this movie. But in the 2D version everything looked sharp and stylish. The way the characters were dressed and the attention to detail not only into what the characters were wearing but also in the background and scenery made this movie visually stimulating and interesting to watch. Stylistically in terms of movies out this year I think this one has taken the most risks and Baz Luhrmann has taken quite a lot of creative liberties with the original story in order to do so. But I think it does make the movie stand out against others, I don’t think anyone could say the Great Gatsby film wasn’t creative or wasn’t innovative.
Overall I enjoyed this movie, but in order to do so I would say to ignore what you read in the book because I found it completely different entirely. I would say you should watch the film in 2D because I can’t see what a 3D option will add. You can see our 3D review here in which it did not score well. The film does have quite a lot of comedic and funny moments and also quite a lot of serious and emotional elements and I think it does well to shift in between the two.
As a reviewer I had fun watching The Great Gatsby. I would recommend this movie to watch as I did enjoy it and if you like narration based story telling, the actors involved or strong character development in your films then this is for you.