Another Orange Wednesday Review – The Great Gatsby *****


All Photos © Warner Bros

‘My life’s got to be like this… it’s got to keep going on.’

The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly one of my favourite novels of all time. It is, arguably one of the greatest reads in the history of Western literature. But that’s by the by.

Plot: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s turn of the twentieth century semi-autobiographical novel, focusing on greed and apathy, decadence and hedonism in American society worked on so many levels on its initial publication in 1925 and works just as beautifully on a twenty-first century digital 3D screen. Whether you focus on the wider symbolism, Gatsby as an emblem of American society, or the micro-plot, the painful love story which sears the heart of the film, the dialogue soars off the page.

Acting/Direction: Dicaprio has simply matured into the role of Gatsby. He has always played conflicted, yet overwhelmingly optimistic characters, bound by fate, love and ambition, whether Jack Dawson or Romeo Monatague. The role of Gatsby hinges on Dicaprio’s abilities and the film comes off far better for it. Maguire’s performance as Nick Carraway, the voyeuristic writer is also laudable, meanwhile Carey Mulligan’s Daisy does seem somewhat more sympathetic than the character from the novel.

CGI/Setting: Director Baz Luhrmann is known for his visually delicious cinematic delights, and this film is no different. The sumptuous landscape of West Egg and 1920s America straddles the line between historical re-creation and fantasyland. Perhaps Luhrman’s vision takes something from Fitzgerald’s dreamlike surrealism, which pervades the language of his novel.

Score/Music: Searing. Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z)’s production on the soundtrack of this film echoes 1920s Jazz and the emergence of the Jazz age and remixes it (quite literally) to give a reckless, modern feel that contemporary audiences will definitely love and be excited by. The music soars and dives, from Jack White (Love is Blindness) to Florence and the Machine (Green Light) to Gotye (Heart’s A Mess), all the way round to Jay-Z himself (100$ Bills).

Overall: It’s definitely a Green Light for this film. Go see it! Go go go!


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