Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Great Gatsby - More Like The Great Failure

I was really disappointed with The Great Gatsby, plain and simple no buts about it.  The movie felt slapped together and did not live up to either to classic American novel or the original film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.  My first problem was the soundtrack.  I have nothing wrong with the songs themselves, the tracks were diverse and modern with some great tunes by Jay Z.  That being said, they had no place inside the upscale clubs of the roaring twenties.  Flapper girls should be dancing to jazz music, the punk rock of its day, not the pop and electronic songs of today’s music industry.  The acting was also sub-par to say the least.  Toby Maguire was not believable at all as Nick Carraway and while Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Jay Gatsby was better, it was not at the level I had hoped for with his constant repetition of the phrase “Old Sport” making me cringe every time he opened his mouth.  The highlight of the film for me was Joel Edgerton’s performance as Tom Buchanan.  Superbly portrayed, I felt the character was the only one that could have passed as the novel’s counterpart.  Overall, the film couldn’t decide if it wanted to be modern and edgy or classic and sophisticated and that is where it ran into trouble.  The not so subtle attempts at imagery were forced and whole sections of the movie were ruled by Maguire’s narrative which felt like he was reading excerpts from the novel itself, completely out of touch with the tone set by the director.  Visually, the film was beautiful with bright colors and stark contrasts making certain images such as Gatsby’s yellow car pop when juxtaposed with the dull environment.  Overall, the film was an attempt to be bigger, brighter, and more modern but turned out to be a hodgepodge of poor decisions and inadequate acting.  The book is brilliant and the 1974 film nearly flawless which brings us to the old adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

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