The Great Gatsby Review...Sort Of

You know how I said that when I get a job I refuse to let it take over my life? (I probably didn't, but I thought it, so that counts.)Yeah, well that failed. Note to self: do not let job take over life.

When I haven't been working, I've been sick. I'm not going to bore you with all the gory details, but let's just say it wasn't exactly a slight cough. You'd think that lying in bed and staring at the ceiling every day would inspire me to do a little bit of writing, and yet, most of my days have been spent watching movies, reading novels (I'm re-reading Nineteen Eighty-Four, mind is being blown AGAIN) and using my iPhone for absolutely everything apart from actually making calls - if you follow me on Instagram and your feed has been bombarded with pictures of cats, you'll catch the drift.

In between being sick and working - and on a more positive note - I managed to go and see The Great Gatsby on opening night. Despite being an avid reader, I'd never actually laid my hands on a copy of the original text (surprising, as a lot of kids read it as part of their curriculum). However as a lover of 20's fashion, retro cars and Baz Luhrmann, I was really, really looking forward to seeing Leo's butt this modern rendition of a classic novel.

Luhrmann never fails to impress me. Known for his extravagant use of colour and high contrast, he managed to capture the glitz and glamour of the roaring 20's effortlessly. The party scenes were full to the brim with champagne, dancing, entertainment and all the things you'd expect from a Gatsby shindig, whereas the romance was almost Romeo and Juliet-esque, passionate but weary (no extensive sex scenes, sorry to disappoint). Subtle metaphors and symbolism such as the lighthouse and a billboard with watchful eyes made my inner Film Studies student erupt with joy. And the costumes? Let's just say that the theme for my wedding has officially been chosen (note to self no. 2: stop watching Don't Tell The Bride.)

As for DiCaprio, it's crazy to see how far he has progressed since Titanic. From the floppy haired, squinty eyed poster boy of the 90's, it seems that casting directors finally realised he was more than just a pretty face after The Man in the Iron Mask and Gangs of New York. I can't say that he managed to capture Gatsby's essence authentically as I haven't read the book, but Leo did portray Gatsby's strive for accomplishment and inner turmoil rather well, despite the role being a romantic one (though if I received a cream cake every time he said 'ol' sport', I would be in dire need of liposuction). Forever a fan of Carey Mulligan, her Daisy was glamorous and full of life, yet slightly simple - and almost air headed - at times. Toby Maguire made a wonderful Nick Carraway, being closely involved yet watching from afar as the events unfolded before his eyes (though I really can't help but see him screaming "MARY JANE!"every time I look at his angelic little face).
{images all courtesy of - you guessed it - good ol' Google}
From my research, this movie received quite a lot of stick, claiming that the cinematography was over-the-top, steering away from the content of the story, and the choice of soundtrack was disappointingly off-beat. Of course it was flamboyant, flashy and full of exaggerated glamour but hey, that's Hollywood - you can't escape it. The music, however, I have to agree with. I'm all for trying to revamp a classic story for a modern audience but it was almost uncomfortable watching the 20's upper classes listening to Jay Z. Some songs such as Sia's Kill and Run and Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful were to my personal taste, but just didn't really fit the era. Also, why have BeyoncĂ© cover Amy Winehouse's Back to Black when the original would have been equally as good if not even better? Oh yeah, because her husband produced almost ALL the music. Very subtle.

Either way, the movie must have hit a nerve - I walked home in a complete daze, until Nat asked me what I thought, which resulted in me babbling about the symbolism all the way home. I then downloaded the kindle version and am now reading a total of 5 books simultaneously. Go me.

Overall rating: 8/10.

If anyone's seen Gatsby, let me know what you thought, I'd love to hear your comments :)


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