Because I had the unfortunate honor of attending a Chicago public school, I have never read The Great Gatsby. I have of course heard of the book and sorta know the general story. In my mind the book has fallen into the vast category of great novels that were not read in high school. It seems that all hope has been lost. Hmmmm…. If only there were a way for me to conveniently get all the information from the novel visually shoved down my throat for two hours. Hey, wait a minute! Hollywood has just done that. Thanks to the good people at Warner Bros. and the overly saturated visuals of Baz Luhrmann all hope is not lost. Well maybe it is.
First, I would like to say that I’m reviewing this movie as a movie. As previously stated, I have not read the novel. After seeing the movie I felt like I got out of the longest commercial in history. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a good one either. Nothing in this movie felt unique or genuine. That was the biggest downfall. An orgy of fake backgrounds and awkward edits made some parts of the movie difficult to watch. Baz Luhrmann appears to be all about the spectacle in film. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the drama didn’t quite work out. It was impossible for me to emotionally connect to any of the characters when they’re standing in front of cartoony CGI settings. The performances weren’t bad, but none of them stood out. However, Carey Mulligan did a fantastic job of portraying the most boring woman in the world. Because the film focuses on spectacle it fails to focus on little things. There were a bunch of inconsistencies and plot holes that took me out of the movie. Some include: nobody knew who Gatsby was, but he was on the front page of all the newspapers, Nick Carroway’s house changing distances to Gatsby’s castle, Tom Buchanan not noticing a giant castle across the lake, Nick Carroway not saying anything after Tom blames Myrtle’s death on Gatsby, etc. Unfortunately, this movie falls into the movie genre I call “Established Stories With Extra Hollywood Bang!” I would probably give this movie 2 stars on Netflix.