So recently, I got made redundant from my job. I wont bore you with the gory details, but blogging alone doesn’t bring the money in, I do actually have to go out and work. But seeing as I have been made redundant, I’ve now got a bit of spare time on my hands. I’ve had a couple of interviews and I’m fairly sure I’ll be back to work soon. But being unemployed, is essentially the most boring thing ever. So to break up some of the boredom, I’ve taken up the offer of Super Saver Tuesdays at my local multiplex, no naming names (not being a massive fan of multiplexes). So I pitched up at the 10:50am showing and to my pure joy, I was joined by two ladies in the cinema. No screaming children, no texting, no popcorn, no loud rustling of bags. It was fab. I highly recommend a solo visit to the cinema on a weekday morning. All the rules of Wittertainment code of conduct were followed, it was great!
So I went to see Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby, in 2D (no need for 3D, really. Just stop now). Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald book published in 1925 (it’s on my reading list, so this is an assessment of the film only, not in comparison to the book). I read a few reviews online after I’d seen the film this morning, and I was shocked that so many people thought it was trashy and loud and brash, ‘The music didn’t reflect the time! I mean Jay-Z?! really?’. Let’s address this glaringly ridiculous issue first. For starters if you have never seen a Baz Luhrman film, please investigate his other films first. The Great Gatsby was never going to be a highclass piece of historically accurate drama, in the same way Romeo and Juliet wasn’t a tragic love story (Lovefool anyone?) nor was Strictly Ballroom a stuffy drama about ballroom dancing. They are camp, they are over the top, they are wild and completely and utterly bonkers. Everything in Luhrman’s world is a hyperversion of reality. The music is arguably one of the best features of the film, the conflict of modern and vintage works perfectly, the charts have recently been visited by reworkings of old songs, so don’t say that the two don’t mix. One of the standout moments in the film is a montage of Tobey Maguire’s character getting drunk with Daisy’s husband and some women they’ve picked up. The scene is so delightfully camp and debauched, that old 1920s crooning wouldn’t quite have the same affect. Basically what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t like Lurhman, you will hate this. If you can take your cinema with a pinch of glitter and a martini it’s right up your street.
The themes in the film are interesting, bearing in mind I’ve never read the book (I imagine I will view both pieces differently once I’ve read it) it became apparent to me that Gatsby could be considered the male version of the bunny boiler. It’s not hard to see that he’s fairly unstable, the lies, the deceit, the elaborate spectacle of his version of life he puts on for one girl, just to get her attention. He’s a loveable character, but in the film I’m not quite sure you end up rooting for him. There seems to be this element missing throughout the film, I don’t entirely feel the characters motivation, they do seem a bit flat. But having said that, I don’t know if the visuals in the film were at the expense of character development. It’s been said before about Lurhman, and it will definitely be said again. Nevertheless, the story is one of love. One of epic proportions, we see Gatsby constructing his own conspicuous and vibrant lifestyle, the wildness and carelessness revealed to be a carefully laid out plan. These themes are very much relevant today, in a world where men traditionally define their masculinity through their ability to provide is tested in the current climate, this shows a man in a similar situation, who despite lying still doesn’t succeed.
The film is visually beautiful, the swooping shots become a bit monotonous after some time, effectively their only purpose to “enhance” the 3D version. The story is engaging and you are interested in why Gatsby is the way he is, of course, human fascination with wealth and success virtually guarantees an interest. It wont be winning any Oscars, it certainly wont go down in history as a fantastic, must see, must own film, but if you want to take some time off, if you want to indulge in all things bad; drinking, partying, sex, excess, then this might give you a little bit of what you need.
PS. listen out for an AWESOME cover of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black by Andre 3000 and Beyoncé.
- ‘The Great Gatsby’ DVD And Blu-Ray Includes An Alternate Ending That Would Have Made The Film Even Longer (businessinsider.com)
- The great ending of The Great Gatsby (juliashriver.wordpress.com)
- Not-So-Great Gatsby – A Mixed Review (helenahannbasquiat.wordpress.com)
- The Great Gatsby Review (polarbearstv.wordpress.com)
- The Great Gatsby, monumentally grotesque (twosipschronicles.com)
- How Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ Is Spreading the American Dream (celebuzz.com)