Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – ‘Great’ In The Film’s Title Is Justified!

3.5/5 Stars

An adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of the same name, Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ revolves around the equation between a mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbour Nick Carraway.

Although the 3D was quite needless, everything else about the film (visuals, music, performances, subject, dialogues, and screenplay among other notable aspects) is absolutely terrific. The most awesome part about ‘The Great Gatsby’ is that it encapsulates so many elements – love, betrayal, friendship, greed, selflessness, trust, conceit and ambition, in one story. The length may seem a bit long at 2hours 23minutes, but the emphatic climax is worth the wait.

The film starts with a dishevelled-looking Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), assumed to be an alcoholic, narrating Gatsby’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) story to his psychiatrist.

According to Nick, Gatsby was the most hopeful man that he had ever met. He reminisces about the summer of 1922, when he had recently moved to New York City, and started working as a bond salesman. Nick says that he got himself a small house on Long Island, right next to the grand mansion owned by a certain Mister Gatsby. Having been a witness to his grand and wild parties at his palatial residence, Nick finds himself enamoured by this faceless, mysterious person called Gatsby.

After finally coming face-to-face with him (with a little help from the petite common friend Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki)), Nick can’t help but get carried away by Gatsby’s infectious smile and energy. 

Inevitably, both of them become good friends in no time. Nick, often, wonders about how Gatsby collected such enormous amount of wealth, but as time passes, his trust in the man grows stronger. One day, Nick learns that his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) had been Gatsby’s lover, and that the latter wants her back.

This leads to a roller-coaster ride for everyone involved – including Daisy’s temperamental husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).

How Nick manages to sort this situation out, and eventually lands up at a shrink’s is what the film is all about!

The biggest positive about the film was the way it tackled rights, wrongs and relationships. Through the course of the film, you will find several real-life connections with its principal characters. Daisy, Tom, Gatsby and Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher) play complex characters. They’ve all made errors in judgement and eventually, do face the repercussions. However, you can understand everyone’s predicament at the end of it all. Relationships are about give-and-take, but the truth is that ‘give’ and ‘take’ never attain a stable equilibrium. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is about how much are you willing to give and how much can you let go, in a relationship (be it in friendship or love).

The film also talks about ‘hope’. There’s a famous quote from the 1997 film ‘Good Will Hunting’ – “I'm just going to put my money on the table and see what kind of cards I get.” Yes, sometimes one just needs to give a relationship his/her all, and just wait for how it all ends up!

The film’s climax will leave you a bit overwhelmed. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire deliver astounding performances. The film is primarily about the equation between these two principal characters, and the actors do a marvellous job.

Amitabh Bachchan, who plays Gatsby’s business partner Meyer Wolfsheim, has superb screen presence. The Bollywood megastar shines in this two-minute role.

Another aspect that shines out in the movie – the visuals (the 3D, albeit unrequired, is really, really good); comprising wonderful production design, cinematography and special effects. Craig Armstrong’s enchanting musical score wonderfully tailors into the screenplay.

The only downside to the film is the length. At two-and-half-hours, ‘The Great Gatsby’ may leave you exhausted. However, it’s a stupendous effort and a must-watch.

The ‘great’ in the film’s title is justified.

Shivom Oza

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