THE GREAT GATSBY--Directed by Baz Luhrmann/ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan/screenplay written by Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce, based on the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald/rated PG-13/ 2 hrs. 23 min.
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(B) I had mixed feelings about this film. I definitely enjoyed the second half much more than the first. The meat of the story didn’t really make itself evident the first half. I think too much time was spent on the opulence and extravagance. After so many lavish parties, I got it. Gatsby is rich. Maybe I was tired and restless and inpatient waiting for some real substance, but over an hour into the film (waaaayyyy too long) the story grabbed my interest. I liked the character (Nick Carraway), played by Tobey McGuire a dedicated friend who was not completely blinded by the glitz. He saw Gatsby for the dreamer and optimist that he was, and appreciated him for that quality above all others. All the supporting roles were adequate. As far as the modernization of the music I prefer to keep a classic a classic and go all the way with the era. The music, the fashion ALL belong in the twenties. That’s my opinion. If you want to see or hear modern tales and music, there are many films out there to satisfy. Don’t change a classic. That’s why it’s a classic. I give two and half binoculars for the second half of this film. Gatsby, for me, was good, but not great.
(OG) I liked it, obviously a little more than Barbara. If you are looking for a carbon copy of the novel, brought to life on the screen, then don’t see this film. There have been some changes, and if your gauge-needle is going to be stuck on how this film compares to the book, then you might be disappointed, if your view of the book is limited. There has been some speculation that the film is series of annoying contrasts that were not apparent in the original story: Gatsby is the only character that is real, or the rich and the poor are stereotypes, or that the dialogue is not realistic for anyone except Gatsby, or that the music is an annoying blend of modern and period pieces. I say: That’s what the book was all about. Luhrmann, I believe captured the essence of the original Fitzgerald novel while bringing in just enough new elements to reach perhaps a new and “harder to reach” audience. He even found a way to bring some of the original writing directly to the screen. The truth is, the roaring twenties and today are not that much different from one another. Jazz, I once heard, is a an original American music that allows everyone to do their own thing while working together for the common good...just like the American government.” Jazz allows each individual a moment in the spotlight to make the best of the moment. In everyone’s own way, we get to interpret our own story in a sense. Is that what today's music is trying to do? Regardless, that’s what this film is for me. That’s an important theme in the book and in this film. Ultimately, Gatsby created himself for the idealized love of a woman. It doesn’t matter what other’s think of the woman or the man himself. The character is unshaken throughout. I give this one three binoculars. The time went smoothly and quickly for me, and I am an English literature teacher, and a fan of the novel.