The Grotesque Gatsby
The subtle and engaging poetry that is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, was seemingly tossed by the wayside to create a disgusting film that reeked of Hollywood’s piss. The beautiful body of work that Fitzgerald put together was dressed head to toe in whatever would sell movie tickets. When making this film, Baz Luhrmann had no intentions of doing Fitzgerald’s story justice, but simply fell into the monetary trap that the book itself mocks. In every single way, shape, and form, this is an absolutely terrible adaption of Fitzgeralds classic story.
Lets first start with the cast. The only well casted actors in this film were Leonardo DeCaprio as Gatsby, and Joel Edgarton as Tom Buchanan. Daisy could have been played by any cute blonde that could act dumb, and likewise, Wilson was a fairly easy character to cast. Meyer Wolfsheim is intended to be a shady, intelligent, and obviously jewish character. Instead, he’s played by an almost likeable Indian guy! Like honestly, what was the damn thought process in that decision. Jordan Baker was also poorly done. First off, in the book she’s describing as an athlete but not as a giant. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but her constant towering over Nick is an issue I had with the film. Also, her character is supposed to be beautiful, but terribly cynical to the point that she’s unlikable. I found her character as likable at times and rather plane looking as well. Plus the whole relationship between her and nick was completely ignored. Nick is supposed to be finding her attractive and interesting, and considering the idea of loving this girl, only to reconsider and figure she’s just another careless person. And Nick Carraway… Well its Toby McGuire so I shouldn’t have to say anything else. Here’s a message to the casting director, you cannot cast a person simply because they vaguely resembles the author of the book you are going to essentially shit on. Let’s be honest, has Maguire ever done anything good since the first Spiderman movie? He’s simply film poison, and if this movie really was going to live up the high bar that was set for it, it needed a great relatable and likable actor to be the eyes we look into this story with. As for a whole, the people in this movie felt about as 1920’s as a “Great Fratsby” themed one night sorority brothel a.k.a. A Greek Mixer.
Real quick, let me touch on the sound track. I think the music is great, but terrible for this movie. We understand that Jay-Z is from New York, but that does not mean his music needs to be played in every damn movie about the city. The thing that was most upsetting to me was that the music played in the extravagant parties Gatsby threw was modern day hip-hop/dance music. The lack of authenticity in the soundtrack was just about as annoying as anything else in the movie, and it contributed to the terrible vibe consistently given throughout the film. Overall, it was a constant reminder that the movie was some Hollywood bullshit that had zero interest in accurately representing the 1920’s based novel.
All right, now let me say this. Fuck Baz Luhrmann. It will forever confuse me how he was handed the opportunity to turn this story into film. From the scenes that were obviously catering to creating a 3d film, to the addition of an unnecessary sub-plot, Mr Luhrmann did everything possible to destroy this classic. The delicately composed novel is emotionally engaging and consistently portraits ideas of love, society, and morality. Baz Luhrmann tries to display these themes by pointing a confetti gun at computer, ultimately resulting in a sub-par CGI filled version of the story. From the very beginning, the themes of the movie were being shoved down the audience’s throat. Part of the whole joy in Fitzgerald’s novel was the certain mystery that unraveled with time, but instead they decided to be blunt with you and essentially spoon-feed the most satisfying ideas to the viewers within the first 20 minutes. They come right out and explain what exactly the green light represents on the first mention of it, and they do the same on the first mention of Dr. T.J. Eckleburgs billboard. They were also very quick to reveal Gatsby as a character. As a reader, you get to form ideas of this man slowly and hesitantly until you finally meet him, and even then you don’t entirely learn about his life until late into the book. In the movie, you essentially know him from the beginning. He never seems unfamiliar, or distant, he’s quickly introduced and explained and you never get to dwell in your own thoughts on the character. Perhaps the dumbest thing Luhrmann did was create a sub-plot where this whole story is being delivered by Carraway to a random doctor of some sort. Its simply unnecessary, and for the most part just a distraction. Plus it diminishes the story Fitzgerald wrote by changing it for absolutely no reason. I guess the reasoning was so that when Carraway begins writing his story out for the doctor they can display text on the screen to represent that he’s actually typing the story as the film progresses. This whole text thing I’m mentioning was only a distraction from the words that were being said, and were simply overdone. I really just think that Baz Luhrmann was a terrible director for this film, and his style is just to overwhelming and did not suite Fitzgerald’s story. I really wish this opportunity was given to Martin Scorsese, but I would have been happy with pretty much anyone other then Luhrmann.
I found two silver linings in the entirety of the movie. The first of which is that you can tell they tried to keep as much of Fitzgerald’s writing in the script as possible. That just is good way to respect the deceased writer of this story. The other is the scene where Gatsby finally tells Tom Buchanan that Daisy never loved him. This scene was really well done, and in my opinion was only good because they kept it simple and all the CGI crap that ruined the rest of the movie didn’t clutter it. Honestly though, it was the only scene I truly liked.
I’ll give this movie a 3/10. Though there was some humor in the combination of Carraways dislike for careless people, and how carelessly this movie was thrown together, but it is not enough to justify how terrible this movie truly was. Though visually, the movie was an alluring spectacle, it really just left the viewer with the empty shell of a story that truly only served as a 2 hour and 23 minute commercial for brooks brothers.
Regardless of the illusions i created, You are a piece of shit human being.