Saw The Great Gatsby at a drive-in on Friday, so I thought I would post a review.
I’ve held a long time obsession with The Great Gatsby. It’s been one of my favorite books of all time, what with the glamor of the 1920s, the purist idealism of Gatsby conflicting with the wretchedness of pretty much everyone he knows, and the steadfast character of the narrator, Nick. The book holds a lot of magic for me, and I always love to see adaptations of it. So, when I see a high budget version being developed with Leonardo DiCaprio as the headliner, I simply couldn’t resist.
For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The first half of the movie was an ideal representation of the world of the book- from the house, to the parties, to Gatsby’s character, even the transitions. Everything was a combination of elegant and reckless, glamor and depravity, of wealth and opulence. The colors, the acting, the mood of the film, even how the characters drove their cars, it was all absolutely perfect. The only thing I can fault is that the music was a little modern, considering that this was the 1920’s, but even then, it matched the mood of the film. If I were Nick, what I saw in that movie was exactly what I had expected to see in 1920. That first half of the movie was a marvelous adaptation, above and beyond what I had expected.
The second half of the movie, however, the half after Gatsby meets Daisy, that’s where the movie falls short a little bit. Nothing is bad, quite honestly. The acting is good. The sets are good. The drama is well kept. The only real issue is that it’s nothing special. The entire second half of the movie is drab, a regular representation. Where the first half was the best Gatsby fit I had yet seen, the second half could have been done by essentially anyone. I didn’t feel Gatsby’s emotional angst over Daisy failing to meet his fantasy. I didn’t feel Gatsby’s last hope, that if Daisy leaves Tom, she’s turn into his fantasy, and everything will be ok. I couldn’t sympathize with Daisy’s conflict between Tom and Gatsby. I didn’t feel Gatsby’s inevitable panic and turmoil at the end of the movie. The only convincing aspect of the second half of the movie was Toby Maguire’s conflict between assisting his friend Gatsby, betraying his cousin Daisy, and his self destruction over Gatsby’s death.
Overall, the movie gets a 7.5/10. The second half of the movie wasn’t spectacular, but that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the first half.