October 15, 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire

Along with a slew of other books I don't remember, I had to read this for high school English class. I remember exactly two things about it:

1. There were a lot of parties, and
2. My English teacher told me that some have suggested a homosexual angle to the relationship between Gatsby and Carraway

So naturally, I spent the first third of the movie searching for signs of a secret longing on the part of either of the main characters. I didn't see any hint of that, so thanks for ruining a perfectly good story, Mr. Kuzma.

Beyond that, this movie has been thoroughly Baz-ified. (yep, I just turned Baz Luhrmann into a verb.) It contains many of his usual signatures like a musical score composed of popular songs, overwhelming colors, and that weird, fast-forwarded-type movement of people he also used in Moulin Rouge. Except sadly, this movie didn't have Ewan McGregor singing Your Song to Nicole Kidman, allowing me to imagine that he's really serenading me.

It did, however, have both Leo and Carey Mulligan, whom I adore (despite some questionable movie role choices in her past). And Baz's choice to use large portions of the text word for word helped me overlook the casting choice of Tobey Maguire as the main character (although really, after trying to make him a superhero in Spiderman, anything else is more convincing). [As an aside, does anyone else sometimes have trouble differentiating Amy Adams from Isla Fisher?]

BUT (and this is a biggie), there are portions of the movie that are just flat out slow. For instance, the first 20 or so minutes. And a solid portion in the middle. Considering the movie just clears 2 hours, that's a sizable chunk that's completely forgettable. But I judge a movie more on how it ends, rather than how it begins (if I make it to the end), so I was pleased with its strong finish. Now if only Leo could snag an Oscar, he wouldn't feel the need to keep going out of his way to play every neurotic character available to prove he can act.

Final word: More like, "The Good Gatsby."

Let's all be educated and go ahead and read the book.

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