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THE VISUALLY STUNNING GATSBY

Posted: 4:07pm 5/23/2013
THE VISUALLY STUNNING GATSBY

THE VISUALLY STUNNING GATSBY

First a couple of questions: have you read THE GREAT GATSBY? It Is a classic America novel frequently assigned in high school and college and it was Wichita’s Big Read last fall.  More importantly, if you’ve read it, did you like it? Finally, if you answered yes, do you realize that a novel and a film are very different works of entertainment?

All that to preface:  I love the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel as a piece of literature and I liked the new Baz Luhrmann movie as a piece of cinema very much.  Luhrmann of MOULIN ROUGE and ROMEO + JULIET visually over the top fame has taken the 1925 story of Jazz Age lost love and disillusionment and turned it into a truly gorgeous movie very much in the style of movies that were made by the great film directors of the 1920s such as Fritz Lang, Josef von Sternberg, or F.W. Murnau if they had had 3D and CGI at their disposal.  Just like the novel, the whole story of millionaire mystery Jay Gatsby and his fickle lady love Daisy Buchanan is told by Gatsby’s only true friend, Nick Carraway, as a mournful memoir.  Because Nick is trying to work through his demons, the story and therefore the film is by no means straightforward reality.  It is the dazzled and confused memories of a young nobody who fell in with a ridiculously wealthy and careless crowd and (surely this is not a spoiler) no one’s story ends happily. 

 

Tobey McGuire ably plays the naïve vulnerable Nick with Leonardo diCaprio enigmatic as his memory of his fallen hero and Carey Mulligan equally enigmatic as the woman Gatsby loves.  It isn’t a happy tale and it invites you to reflect on what happened right along with Nick.  This feast for the eyes is also the best, most sumptuous use of 3D to tell a story since Scorsese’s HUGO.  GATSBY is visually a stunner.  Opening this in May, Warner Bros. has given audiences the ultimate alternative to superhero blockbusters.  Judging from its $50+ million opening weekend, their risk paid off.  If you want to see a truly cinematic movie  based on a great literary source, you SHOULD SEE IT.



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