Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gatsby, the Newest Rendition

by Pa Rock
Movie Fan

It's been nearly ninety years since F. Scott Fitzgerald penned his classic, The Great Gatsby, and nearly forty years since I saw the Robert Redford - Mia Farrow cinematic version of the tale.  Today I went to the local multiplex to view the newest movie version of Fitzgerald's timeless novel.

Actually, the novel is timeless in the sense that it is a grand story of a side-tracked love with good insights into motivations that persist among humans across the decades.   It is a very good story.  But the setting, the lush estates of Long Island in the 1920's, is a look into a lifestyle that most mortals will never know - and few knew even in the roaring twenties.

Two settings, in fact, were the real stars of the current movie:  Jay Gatsby's mansion and a few other grand homes on Long Island, and the Valley of Ashes, a urban pocket of hard poverty and blue collar sweat where Tom Buchanan's mistress lived with her mechanic husband.  Both are over-the-top in their cinematic glory.   The main party scene at Gatsby's mansion alone undoubtedly cost more to film than many independent film producers can manage to amass for entire movies.  While the visuals were lush, the movie could have benefitted from more emphasis on the jazz music of the times...just saying.

Leonardo DiCaprio, gave his usual - a flawless performance as the mysterious Jay Gatsby, but his Gatsby wasn't nearly as compelling at Tobey Maguire's Nick Carraway - or Jason Clarke as George Wilson, the mechanic with the unfaithful wife.  Clarke was a proverbial scene-stealer.  Carey Mulligan played an acceptable Daisy Buchanan.

The Great Gatsby was an enjoyable afternoon outing, but I suspect that it will be at least another forty years before I am ready to sit though it again.

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

Can you imagine what the medium that replaces film will look like in 40 years?