Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Great Gatsby

SF: As a novel The Great Gatsby really is a masterpiece. I've seen a few different takes on it over the years so my opinion is going to be very tainted. My first impression was that visually this fulfills everything a Baz Lurhman film alludes too. There are plenty of points that I thought really captured the mood of a particular scene. But for all its glitz and glamour the subtle character driven core is sadly lacking. This is a mere silloete of a superior work. The more I think about it the more I find missing. Suffice to say DiCaprio and McGuire do fantastic jobs, no doubt in another interpretation I would have loved this entirely. However to me The Great Gatsbty was more than we are shown in this pale, overly long offering. 3.5/10

50 Eggs: Good things: the soundtrack is inventive and clever, the visual style is interesting (several shots looked like paintings) and Carrey Mulligan manages not to stink up the screen for fact I'll begrudgingly admit that she is pretty good in this. Bad things: the story is on the dull side. I accidentally took a micronap and my foot spasmed into the back of the chair in-front of me. 5/10

DonkeyB: Ech. I should start by saying that I love the book. It has a pretty good case for being the greatest novel ever written, it is certainly one of the best five I have read. I have seen the 1974 Robert Redford film version. I have an audiobook version with Tim Robbins reading..... Last year SF and I attended a London staging of Gatz the Elevator Repair Service's staging [reading] of the complete unabridged text over 8 hours! I like it... alot. That being said the plot is really not all that important- it's a basic melodrama which wouldn't be out of place in your average soap opera- it serves the same function as the plot in Shakespeare or an opera, its only there to hang the art on. In that respect it is not really filmable.

I deliberately didn't read or listen to reviews before I went to see it, here is a rare occurrence where I felt like I had the required skills to judge the merits of the film and it wasn't just hubris on my part.

Parts of the film look fantastic (literally), however the green screening is a bit shonkey; from about halfway through the actors all looked cut out and stuck on the out of focus background, which is exactly what they were. The film itself is frustrating: the overall impression you get is that no matter how much Luhrmann loves the book- he didn't get it. The parts of the film which deals with the parties are pretty well done, but its pretty clear Baz thinks these are what his film should be about! Mr Z's soundtrack I hear has been contraversial but it really shouldn't be, I thought it worked well.

PLOT SPOILER not sure how to discuss this without giving away part of the plot (which isn't important remember so carry on reading), it appears that Baz thinks the Great Gatsby is a morality tale in which the upstart, nouveau riche, millionaire bootlegger gets his comeuppance for all the wild parties he threw and drags everyone he encounters down with him. Whereas the book is subtle and haunting and sad, the film is loud, over the top and simple. It is quite frustrating because I think DiCaprio genuinely understands Gatsby the character, but also what the book is about. I just don't think Baz does. It is not terrible it just isn't The Great Gatsby. 5/10

Overall: 4.5/10

No comments: