Baz Luhrmann’s new version of The Great Gatsby premiered in Seattle yesterday and I was first in line to see it, as F. Scott Fitzgerald is among my favorite authors, and his immortal work “The Great Gatsby” is arguably the best American novel ever written.
This movie rendition is well worth your seeing when it comes to Roppongi Hills in Tokyo or wherever else you see it, whether or not you are a Fitzgerald fan. It is far better than the earlier version starring Robert Redford, less able an actor than Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio will certainly be nominated best actor for his performance in “The Great Gatsby,” although I felt he was a tad off his best game, as in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar (Hoover), for which he was passed over by the Academy.
Film technology has improved exponentially in the past thirty years and “The Great Gatsby” is no exception, although IMVHO this film was not ideal for 3D, more suitable for the genre of sci fi or animation. The main characters sometimes come off as dollish and distended from the mainframe. 3D in movies is here to stay but has a ways to go to achieve a truly realistic effect. (I did wear the 3D glasses provided for the film outside the theater afterwards and the 3D was way realistic, haha.)
The music score for the movie offers an ideal mix of classic tunes of the jazz age, such as Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and very current pop, rap indeed.
Note that this version is an adaptation of the book, as most movies are. Fitzgerald wrote “The Great Gatsby” in the first person with Nick Carraway as the narrator. In the move Nick Carraway (acted by Tobey Maguire) is the author, who suffers from depression and alcoholism, and is being treated in a psychiatric asylum. The dialogue is changed as well in many parts of the move, although some of Fitzgerald’s poetic writing is wisely preserved in the voice of Nick Carraway.
The roaring 20’s captured in “The Great Gatsby” were hyperbolic. There is great pageantry, music and dance in the film. At its core there is also incredible sadness in this movie, an outpouring of the sadness (and tragedy) of F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.
All the best,
Warren J. Devalier