The Great Gatsby (2013), an Interpretation of an Old Story

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This is my first review here so feel free to point out problems with structure. Mind that my native language is not English, so there must be some things out of place.



Anyway, The Great Gatsby is one of those movies I could watch many times (while being sober or drunk) and enjoy it till the end ignoring the nuisances that the movie does has. But there is a profound reason as to why this movie does, indeed, represent something of deep value, at least for me. I will try to explain it.

First, I would like to point out what I find problematic about this movie, then I will start the analysis.

What I really dislike about the movie is the edit. Basically, the movie feels like is on cocaine. No scene or background can really breathe for the audience, making it hard to sink into the ambient of the movie. And yet, when you remember the movie, the feels of that particular era do really come to the memory. I always thought that this edition of the movie, the way the camera bounce from scene to scene, from shot to shot, was to emphasize the lack of time an appreciation that the hollow life has, a theme that is part of the movie in some way. But that, to me, is sometimes wishful thinking.

Second, and this is really tough most of the times I made a rewatch of this movie:

The soundtrack. For me, the soundtrack is like someone put the 60s and the modern ages in a blender and make a horrible and disoriented mess of a sound. The music in the movie, most of the times, is a reminder that you live in the present and this movie, somehow, has access to music from your time. Is really counterproductive.

Those are the main issues for me. Then, sometimes I poke at the fact that Di Caprio is Gatsby. I never really seen him as Gatsby but, instead, as Leonardo acting like his interpretation of Gatsby, which isn't bad but it never really suits completely.

Well, those are the issues. Lets start with the analysis. I will, sometimes, compare the movie to the book but I have a philosophy regarding that: books and movies are part of the same coin. Sometimes, they hate each other or, sometimes, they complement each other like Le Herrison, (great movie by the way).

For most, Gatsby is a movie about the hollowness of the American dream and how we urge to an ideal version of greatness that we never reach it because we never see it in ourselves, even though we may have it.

For me, the Great Gatsby movie from 2013, is a movie about one of the most epic and tragic odyssey a human can embark: to fight the immutable and indifferent Reality using just the mere and flaw tool that a dream is. Gatsby is a romantic in the whole aspect of the word and that's what I think I really find redeemable about his character. But the issue of blinding oneself with the seduction of a dream is that the beautiful things that one does have aren't really there, not in your vision of a dream, they are actually waiting for you in reality but you are never really there. That is one of the main problems with the Gatsby character.
Also, there is an obvious critic of the rich class and how "they broke things just to hide again in their beautiful things" but, I would like to point out, and returning to the idea of the lack of appreciation, that this is another way the movie has to point how having is not the same as owning. This people have what, a lot of you might consider, everything and yet they never really own anything because they don't see the value of it.
The movie is trying to say that these people got on a train that look beautiful on the outside and when they arrive to the destination, if you ask them: "did you see the beautiful scenery out the window?". They will answer: "what scenery? I only got in the train because it was fit of me". In the end, rich people in the movie and the Great Gatsby are enslave to the social binds that made them who they are in society but not in reality.

Finally, we can analyze the Nick character. The passive and lonely observer. Nick is meant to be the audience, in some way. Nick was the guy that was buying and Gatsby sold but, in the end, his innocence really brought the Jay in Gatsby and a sort of real bond happens. Then, Gatsby dies, and the memory of his dream lives on Nick and the reality that comes with it.
But in the book, Nick actually dislikes or disapprove of Gatsby. And when he dies, it is really much more sadder because Gatsby's father does come to the funeral and he never really saw Jay, he is dazzled by the Great Gatsby. And that really changes the message in the book and in the movie. In the book, the dream is not a dream, but a delirium. Nick is the witness of an inevitable disaster and has the first sit to the hollow hearts fill with the shadows of things that people try to have but not own. Nick is there to be the human that everyone is not.
So, having the book and the film, I think, in the end, one can chose to believe in the dream or the delirium, one can chose to admire the man fighting against the giant of reality or can chose to see him as the mad man he is. A mad man that has something we can learn of and a dreamer that has something to warn us about.
In the end, it was never about the past, it was about owning reality to own the idea of self you want people to see when they see you.
So, for me, Gatsby is a movie about identity and how people do things, not according to who they really are and to aspire true greatness, but according to who they want to be to be seen as great.

I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading.



Nice review! Your English is better than mine and English is the only language I speak.

...
What I really dislike about the movie is the edit. Basically, the movie feels like is on cocaine. No scene or background can really breathe for the audience, making it hard to sink into the ambient of the movie. And yet, when you remember the movie, the feels of that particular era do really come to the memory. I always thought that this edition of the movie, the way the camera bounce from scene to scene, from shot to shot, was to emphasize the lack of time an appreciation that the hollow life has, a theme that is part of the movie in some way. But that, to me, is sometimes wishful thinking.

Second, and this is really tough most of the times I made a rewatch of this movie:

The soundtrack. For me, the soundtrack is like someone put the 60s and the modern ages in a blender and make a horrible and disoriented mess of a sound. The music in the movie, most of the times, is a reminder that you live in the present and this movie, somehow, has access to music from your time. Is really counterproductive.

Those are the main issues for me. Then, sometimes I poke at the fact that Di Caprio is Gatsby. I never really seen him as Gatsby but, instead, as Leonardo acting like his interpretation of Gatsby, which isn't bad but it never really suits completely...
Those three things that you don't like abut The Great Gatsby (the crazy edit pace, the mixed up soundtrack and Di Caprio being Di Caprio)...are three things that bugged me about the movie too. In fact I could barely get threw the film because of those three 'flaws'...But very cool that you like it As we all have different taste. Have you seen the other Great Gatsby movies? There's been a bunch of movies based on the novel, the most famous is the Robert Redford, Mia Farrow version The Great Gatsby (1974) I don't know if you'd like it, but if you like the story The Great Gatsby it might be worth your time to check out.



Nice review! Your English is better than mine and English is the only language I speak.
Thanks for the comment about my English. I tend to write more poetic in Spanish, since I am bit of a writer in my country (Nothing really special), so some sentences may sometime sound strange. Anyway, I am glad it was appreciate.

As for the flaws, I completely understand. But there is something of value in the movie. What really annoys me is that the three flaws are really easy to change, they are little but gigantic at the same time.

Have you seen the 1974 version with a Robert Redford? Iím interested in how they compare, specifically to you.
And to answer both of you, no, I knew of it existence but I was afraid to watch it. I think I will watch it and I will tell you what I think. Maybe Robert Redford has a different interpretation of Gatsby. Who knows.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
I love Redford's Gatsby. That movie is within my top 50 movies if for no other reason than the soundtrack alone. But it really is a great movie, IMO. I'm still crushing on Mia Farrow's Daisy, btw, since we had to watch this back in 9th grade.

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I love Redford's Gatsby. That movie is within my top 50 movies if for no other reason than the soundtrack alone.
I think that by posting that beautiful song, you have convince that I shouldn't watch it that, instead, I must watch it.

I will get back here when I watch the movie and make a comparison.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
The Great Gatsby, as is with most Baz Luhrmann movies, is style over substance. While I was never a big fan of the book, it did have a depressing ambiance to it that I feel lacks with the film.

I did like the crazy editing when we are at the party and first are introduced to Gatsby, I even like the modern day soundtrack, it gives it a bit of an upbeat edge.

Overall I feel like I was lukewarm to it.
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The Great Gatsby, as is with most Baz Luhrmann movies, is style over substance. While I was never a big fan of the book, it did have a depressing ambiance to it that I feel lacks with the film.

I did like the crazy editing when we are at the party and first are introduced to Gatsby, I even like the modern day soundtrack, it gives it a bit of an upbeat edge.
For me, the true beauty of the book (and the reason why I read it) lies in the writing. The way he writes, how he makes poetry with the simple vicissitude of life and the complex feelings of a derange person is what I really liked. It is not my kind of read, nevertheless. Is not that deep regarding human exploration, it just focus on a concrete phenomena in a sector of society and an identity issue that you can find in a lot of movies, books and people.
But, for me, the two convine, adds more shades of grays to it. It is not so black and white. Both, the movie and the book, tend to focus on a color of the phenomena: being white for the movie and black for the book.

And I agree too. I like the introduction of Gatsby, it is well-built. But the upbeat edge could be made with music of the era too. But it is nice to hear a different view of something like that too, maybe there is a way to enjoy in another way.



The Great Gatsby, as is with most Baz Luhrmann movies, is style over substance. While I was never a big fan of the book, it did have a depressing ambiance to it that I feel lacks with the film.

I did like the crazy editing when we are at the party and first are introduced to Gatsby, I even like the modern day soundtrack, it gives it a bit of an upbeat edge.

Overall I feel like I was lukewarm to it.

I used that exact same phrase in my review of this movie..."style over substance."



I was surprised that Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive an Oscar for this role. Outwardly, a careless person actually suffers deeply and strives for a woman who turns out to be irresponsible and frivolous. This is a seemingly light film, which nevertheless leaves sadness and regret after watching. Of course, Gatsby is a fictional character. But all the characters, all the stories are taken from life.



I was surprised that Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive an Oscar for this role. Outwardly, a careless person actually suffers deeply and strives for a woman who turns out to be irresponsible and frivolous. This is a seemingly light film, which nevertheless leaves sadness and regret after watching. Of course, Gatsby is a fictional character. But all the characters, all the stories are taken from life.
He used to get so many it would only add insult to injury if he didnít win it.



I was OK with the 2013 version and even understood the Baz Luhrmann urge to amp up the 1920's in order to make them roar, but I thought of the movie in contrast to the book and it seemed a lot like the Klassik Komik version that was intended to illustrate the story and keep it short. The best part of reading Fitzgerald is the language, which really is a pleasure, and that was lost in the movie version. I've only seen part of the earlier version, but that seemed similar to me.

So much was missing (not just plot elements), compared to the book, mostly the pleasure in the writing, that I had to pretty much dismiss both versions. The actors all did their jobs, but, in general, the movie landed with a thud for me. As for DiCaprio, he did a workmanlike job on a flimsy script.



The best part of reading Fitzgerald is the language, which really is a pleasure, and that was lost in the movie version.
So much was missing (not just plot elements), compared to the book, mostly the pleasure in the writing, that I had to pretty much dismiss both versions.
As I wrote before, I completely agree about the writing and the language and I am still asking why some quotes of the book where change (just a little) in the movie unnecessarily. But I do think, that when it comes to movies and books, doing a comparison side by side is not constructive. Books have a way with words that no movie can really recreate in itself. The main language of a movie is the unspoken content of an imagen while, in books, the main language is the imaginative space that words leave you. Yes, In a movie, you can give life to words by dramatizing them with a performance and so on but that just defeat the purpose of the book. In the book, the reader is, in fact, the one doing the performance of the words. So, rather than doing a comparison, I prefer to complement them. Fill the blanks with the extra information that the books gives you and so on. Of course, this sometimes is impossible when the movie wants to do something really far away from the main source.

Anyway, I do appreciate your comment regarding the language. I would like you to ask why you think that's the strong suit of the book. I am curious.



As I wrote before, I completely agree about the writing and the language and I am still asking why some quotes of the book where change (just a little) in the movie unnecessarily. But I do think, that when it comes to movies and books, doing a comparison side by side is not constructive. Books have a way with words that no movie can really recreate in itself. The main language of a movie is the unspoken content of an imagen while, in books, the main language is the imaginative space that words leave you. Yes, In a movie, you can give life to words by dramatizing them with a performance and so on but that just defeat the purpose of the book. In the book, the reader is, in fact, the one doing the performance of the words. So, rather than doing a comparison, I prefer to complement them. Fill the blanks with the extra information that the books gives you and so on. Of course, this sometimes is impossible when the movie wants to do something really far away from the main source.

Anyway, I do appreciate your comment regarding the language. I would like you to ask why you think that's the strong suit of the book. I am curious.
I'm saying that because most of the enjoyment of not just Gadsby but other books by Fitzgerald IS the language. If you enjoy well written prose, almost any movie version of a book like this is a disappointment. I'll grant that they did a good job of creating sets, that I loved the big yellow Rolls Royce, but, short of a 20 hour movie, which I would not sit for, a lot of what I loved about the novel got lost or condensed to the point where it was like a series of illustrations. Honestly, were I a director, I would not want to direct a Fitzgerald adaptation, because it would end up like that. A movie needs to be compact and visual and move quickly. Like Thomas Wolfe, Fitzgerald was wordy, but that's a big part of the enjoyment of the story, which isn't just a plot line but how the plot is narrated and the dialog, something that's lost in a movie with its compact terse dialog. I might have liked the movie version if the stills were used to illustrate the text, but yeah, it's better to read the book.



I'm saying that because most of the enjoyment of not just Gadsby but other books by Fitzgerald IS the language .
Now I get you. Yes, you may be right about the hardships of adapting a wordy material. I've seen Natsamrat and I think that's a good example of a movie accomplishing a good adaption of wordy materials. I recommending you this if you like theater, wordy performances and the existencial crisis that an actor has when his own identity is bind to performances.

Anyway, thanks for extending your reply. It was nice to read more of it!

Now, off to watch the 1974 version.



I was OK with the 2013 version and even understood the Baz Luhrmann urge to amp up the 1920's in order to make them roar, but I thought of the movie in contrast to the book and it seemed a lot like the Klassik Komik version that was intended to illustrate the story and keep it short. The best part of reading Fitzgerald is the language, which really is a pleasure, and that was lost in the movie version. I've only seen part of the earlier version, but that seemed similar to me.

So much was missing (not just plot elements), compared to the book, mostly the pleasure in the writing, that I had to pretty much dismiss both versions. The actors all did their jobs, but, in general, the movie landed with a thud for me. As for DiCaprio, he did a workmanlike job on a flimsy script.
In the picture, it is quite difficult to convey the complexity of speech, the author's reasoning, the internal monologues of the characters. In film adaptations, the atmosphere of the works is often lost. Therefore, I try to rate films separately from books.



In the picture, it is quite difficult to convey the complexity of speech, the author's reasoning, the internal monologues of the characters. In film adaptations, the atmosphere of the works is often lost. Therefore, I try to rate films separately from books.
Quite true. In this case, however, Fitzgerald's books are favorites of mine, so part of me wanted the movie to be good, but it missed so much. I came out thinking that someone who had not read it would have missed most of what's great about the book and not understand why people would be Fitzgerald fans. Novel adaptations are always risky and can work, but probably come out best when the book is compact and not reliant on the language.