Review: The Mediocre Gatsby

WILL HARMON & INEZ KAMINSKI

Sports Editor & Editor in Chief

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The production value of The Great Gatsby does not compensate for Baz Luhrmann’s overall failure to capture the essence of Fitzgerald’s classic story.

The Roaring Twenties seems to be popping up all over the media these days; arguably the root of this is the suspense and anticipation for Baz Luhrmann’s newest film The Great Gatsby. It opened in theaters May 10, with an opening weekend box office return of $60,000,000.

The Great Gatsby, as most know, is a film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel of the same name. The story follows Nick Carraway, the narrator of Gatsby, and his observations of his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom, focusing especially on their extramarital affairs. At the opening of the story, Nick moves to the Hamptons, next to the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a former beau of Daisy’s. Over the course of the novel, their lives become increasingly intertwined, as the cost of glamour and notoriety is revealed to be far higher than expected.

The production value of the film is incredible; the costumes, score, and set design were each impeccable, contributing to the overwhelming, over-the-top atmosphere the Roaring Twenties was so well known for. The outstanding soundtrack, produced by Jay-Z and the Bullitts, succeeded in delivering a modern tone to the Jazz age. Leonardo DiCaprio proved to be a perfect Gatsby. His elegant yet fragile delivery caused him to become, in form and body, Jay Gatsby. DiCaprio previously worked with Luhrmann in Romeo and Juliet (1996).

The production value does not, however, compensate for Luhrmann’s overall failure to capture the essence of Fitzgerald’s story. So much is lost in the film, even while it stayed true to the book in lines and events. Luhrmann was so preoccupied in portraying the superfluousness of the era that he forgot to get to the meat of the story: what it means to love somebody, and what love affairs with money do to someone.

It’s worth seeing, but perhaps if it reaches Netflix in a year.

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