‘The Great Gatsby’ movie review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
The roaring 20s are off to a great start. I’m turning 20 next week, and my closest cousins all have close birthdays and are in their 20s—hence we are having a joint birthday party with a Great Gatsby / roaring 20s theme. It’s the perfect theme to represent our ages as well as the upcoming decade, except for the tiny fact that none of us have actually watched The Great Gatsby, let alone read the book (except my sister because she’s a nerd). Taking one for the team, here’s my review of a movie from 2013 that I only watched to find out what the heck people wore in the 20s (I found out and now you can too!)
The movie opens up in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg (come on F. Scott Fitzgerald, I’m sure you could’ve done better than… Egg) and proceeds to introduce us to the main character who barely speaks in the film, Nick Carraway (played by ex-Spiderman, Tobey Maguire).
The stylists of the cast deserve a ton of recognition for the looks of these characters. Carraway’s suits were always pristine and gorgeous, the women’s outfits were classy, and their bobs never had a stray hair. The way the outfits correlated with the background of each scene must’ve taken immense effort in terms of colour scheme and post-production filters. Two scenes stood out to me most in this sense. The first scene being when we meet Carraway’s cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan). In a spacious circular room of open window doors and white drapes flowing all around, she entices in a white dress. The second scene is similar in its light colouring. We are brought through the cottage living room, covered wall to wall in pale, dangling flowers and see Leonardo DiCaprio (playing Gatsby himself) standing in a crisp white suit on a balcony overlooking the bay.
During scenes where the characters were driving very fast, their voices didn’t match up well with their mouths… which was very offsetting.
The score is outstanding. At times, it is too noticeable and takes over the scene, however it is fantastic at creating atmosphere and accelerating emotional scenes. The music placed in the party scenes were the complete opposite. The dance music, comprised by the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé, completely took me out of the scene. The music is unnatural and does the movie no favours. To properly immerse the viewer into the world, I believe music from the 20s (jazz!) would’ve worked much more in favour of the film.
The movie itself is very frustrating. It runs long, which is tiring to watch when so much information is withheld until after half the film is over. I simply wanted to know what was going on, earlier on. Also, Carraway’s character is in almost every scene, however he merely stands around and doesn’t say much. He is expressive, which convinces me that in the novel we get to read his inner monologue. Seeing how the movie didn’t adapt to his thoughts however, it is just unnerving watching him experience so many awful situations while rarely hearing his opinions on anything.
Throughout the film I found Gatsby far creepier than enchanting in any way. Described by a throwaway character with the phrase, “he’s certainly richer than God,” Gatsby schemes his entire life to win back a—now married—woman (Daisy) he was in love with five years prior. He gets to her through his neighbor Nick Carraway, who seemed more like a potential partner until the whole madly-in-love-with-Daisy spiel was revealed. That ship was a waste really, considering Gatsby was later told, “You’re acting like a little boy!” by Carraway. No romantic hope there.
Rated a… flimsy 3.5 / 5, I’d suggest watching The Great Gatsby, but it’d likely be more enjoyable (or perhaps more frustrating) if you read the book first.