THE GREAT GATSBY. (2013) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE GREAT GATSBY. (2013) BASED ON THE BOOK BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD. DIRECTED AND CO-WRITTEN BY BAZ LUHRMANN.
STARRING LEONARDO DICAPRIO, TOBEY MAGUIRE, CAREY MULLIGAN, JOEL EDGERTON, ISLA FISHER AND ELIZABETH DEBICKI.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I’m not a huge fan of Baz Luhrmann’s work, and I think I would have liked this glitzy Hollywood movie a bit more if it had been directed by someone else, someone who valued a bit of realism and substance over lavish and at times overwhelming style.

I hated the modern musical soundtrack as well. I love genuine ‘Twenties music and dancers doing the Charleston in sync and at top speed, so the whole soundtrack simply didn’t do it for me. Sorry, but it just didn’t, lol.

The story I liked, but then the story is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated and iconic novel, often regarded as the Great American Novel. It’s very sad that he didn’t realise before he died what a huge big deal he was going to one day become, and mainly because of this very book.

The story here is told by Tobey SPIDERMAN Maguire’s Nick Carraway, a World War One veteran and would-be writer who, in 1929, is relating the story of the Great Gatsby to his doctor in a psychiatric hospital. Write it all down, says the doctor, who clearly doesn’t want to have to do his job properly. Write it all down, son, and that’s exactly what Nick Carraway does…

The Great Gatsby is, in fact, the Great Jay Gatsby, someone Nick knows in 1922, when he rents a gatekeeper’s cottage in New York for the summer and his neighbour in the fabulous fairytale mansion just so happens to be the elusive Gatsby, well played by Leonardo TITANIC DiCaprio.

Gatsby, a mysterious business magnate who throws the wildest and most extravagant parties at his mansion, befriends the lonely Nick Carraway, but not out of any philanthropic reasons. Nick, you see, is the cousin of one Daisy Buchanan, the woman Gatsby loves beyond all reason, and with whom he had an affair before World War One took away all the eligible young men.

Gatsby confides in Nick that the reason he throws all these magnificently decadent parties is his hope that, one day, Daisy will attend one of them. Daisy lives, also in the lap of luxury, across the bay from Gatsby’s house, with her old-money millionaire husband, Tom Buchanan. Tom keeps a mistress called Myrtle, played by former HOME AND AWAY siren, Isla Fisher, who’s married in real life to actor and comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen.

Will Nick be kind enough to ask Daisy to tea in his humble abode, Gatsby wonders hopefully, and then he, Gatsby, can just stroll by casually and see her, as if by chance? Nick, I think, is a little bit smitten himself by the charismatic Gatsby, about whom a ridiculous number of contradictory rumours abound, and he agrees to act as go-between to his new friend and Cousin Daisy…

Tragedy is coming down the track for some of the players in this little drama, which is good from a dramatic point of view, but the characters are mostly so unlikeable do we even care, that’s the question.

Daisy is a silly little selfish fool, who nonetheless knows what side her bread is buttered on. Tom, her husband, is a bit of a boorish buffoon and a cowardly bully, plus he’s cheating on his wife with Myrtle. Nick the Narrator is a bystander in his own and his friends’ lives, which is probably what makes him best suited to be a writer. He also serves who only stands and makes little notes in a spiral notebook…

And as for the incomparable Jay Gatsby himself, or should I say Mister James Gatz, well, we, the viewers probably don’t mind that he’s a self-made man who’s pulled himself up by the bootstraps to become the enigmatic millionaire he is today, even if he is ‘new money.’ But he’s a bit of a gimp for Daisy, and Daisy is a spoiled little wagon who will ultimately only do what’s good for Daisy and no more. The wagon…!

So, in a way, I suppose we should feel sorry for Gatsby, especially when the movie turns briefly into SUNSET BOULEVARD at the end. But you guys can, of course, make up your own minds. For myself, I think I might give the book a go, as I’ve never read it. At least Baz Luhrmann didn’t have a hand in it…

  AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://amzn.to/3ulKWkv