Saturday, 18 May 2013

Gushing over Gatsby.

I've waited for over a year and a half, with baited breath and permanently crossed fingers, for this moment. The release of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. I had very high hopes for such a wonderful film adaptation, and I must say, disappointed, I most definitely was not. Luhrmann's style is evidently echoed in this epic love story, taking place during the Roaring Twenties in America. Full of wacky, powerful and unbelievably-realistic characters, deep, profound speeches and one or two hilarious little quips. Fitzgerald's classic novel is held with such high regard, I was worried that Luhrmann's take on it would be a complete flop. But, luckily, to my utmost delight, it was fabulous. Everything. From head-to-toe, down-right, dripping in brilliance. Every shot, every carefully selected piece of scenery, the exquisite costume design, the astounding imagery, every breath a character uttered. It was perfect.

I didn't think it was possible to have a film that so closely echoed the real novel, especially after the 60's Robert Redford film version, which was, admittedly, quite cleverly done, especially for the time. But, as you all have guessed, Leonardo DiCaprio has done it again. The decision to cast him as the inglorious, hopeful, gorgeous Jay Gatsby, was a faultless one. And his pairing with star-crossed lover, Daisy, a stunning, hugely-talented Carey Mulligan, was, in my opinion, pure genius. She was everything Daisy ever was, from the sheer brilliance of her lifestyle, to the matter-of-fact outlook she has on life, Carey was astounding. This may be partly because, after seeing the first film, I picked faults with Mia Farrow's Daisy, being too whiney and unable to convey anything much other than a fairly forced disappointed facial expression, and one or two dramatic head-titled poses. However, Carey, who I sincerely love, (check her out, in some of her other work; An Education, Never Let Me Go.) was on top form, yet again. Her ability to maintain in character, is wonderful, and throughout the film, I was spellbound by her.

So, Leo and Carey deserve an Oscar, what about the rest of the cast? Well, I'm thoroughly impressed at whoever decided to cast the rest. I was nervous when it was revealed that Elizabeth Debicki would play my favourite girl, a serial-cheat, a sly witty, typical woman of the time, Jordan Baker. The one with the best lines, the clever sarcastic tone and very obviously, the flapper look. There aren't enough words to describe how good Debicki played Jordan, it's everything I ever wanted her to be, as well as so much more. I've never thought someone could be so well modelled on a literary character, than Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker. A role she was born to play. A major applause for Joel Edgerton, forever the man you could not keep your eyes off. Tom Buchanan, the bully, the animal, the maddening sleaze-bag. Joel, I'll say it only once, you were great. Now, if I was worried about the rest of the casting, who would be our so-called, omniscient narrator, Nick Carraway. The character whose emotions we all share, the anguish, the delight, the mere flirtations, being overcome with such a fantastical lifestyle, with its glam parties, extravagant lights and a very slight hint of the essential debauchery of the 20's. The one person we are always with. Our Nicky was played by the wonderful Tobey Maguire. Everybody's favourite. The one who begins and ends on such a paradoxically different note, it's hard to process if you haven't already read Fitzgerald's classic. A summer to change your life. The sort-of-welcome of Meyer Wolfshiem (Amitabh Bachchan) and George (Jason Clarke) and Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher), and this film can conquer the world.

A novel that combines and breaks every social barrier known to man. The morals went out of the window as soon as the Roaring Twenties hit. The parties were better, the liquor was cheaper, and most of all, an infamous Jay Gatsby was richer and more illusive than ever. I honestly believe, hand-on-heart, that Luhrmann's production is, wait for it, a masterpiece. An Oscar waiting to happen. I don't think Fitzgerald could've done it better himself. He, I hope, would be as proud as the millions of fans sitting awe-fully in his wake. Costume was mesmerising, the scenery was out of this world, and the characters, were indescribable (although I've tried!) Even down to Isla Fisher's part, a girl who is usually known for quippy little Rom-Com's, with happy endings that leave no threads untied, so she really has done well to get her hands on the role of the devilish, voluptuous Myrtle.

As the credits began to roll, the silence was deafening. The atmosphere could've been cut with a knife. The room was split. Those who knew the ending, and those who didn't. A very sparse few had dry eyes. And in 2013, it suddenly all made sense. We all understood. As the credits continued and the lights came back on, the facial expressions were tell-tale signs. Appreciation. Enlightenment. And most of all, envy. In an age where we party too hard, love to look glam, and will devour someone's arm off to catch a piece of juicy gossip, The Great Gatsby made us think, unanimously, we were born 70 years too late.

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