“The Great Gatsby” – Review
“The Great Gatsby" follows the story of writer Nick Carraway (Maguire) when he comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, where the country is immersed in a new era of loosening morals, jazz playing out at every street corner establishment, bootleg of alcohol is the accepted norm, women and men are adorned in the finest of fashions, glitzy parties are all the rage and every ones wants to be seen as the crème del a crème of Bon Vivants. But not everyone in
is blessed with wealth from the burgeoning country new found prosperity and therefore the idea of being seen poor is not only unbearable but unconscionable to accept. America
While others seem oblivious to this contradictory economic dichotomy, through the prism of his Midwest values Nick is not and is uniquely but politely mystified by its vapid acceptance and casual tolerance, especially when he arrives to his new small cottage home where he immediately observes that his neighbor; a mysterious millionaire neighbor by the name of Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) is the perfect personification of this economic divide. It also does not go unnoticed by Nick that Mr. Gatsby lives in one of the most richly appointed luxurious home he has ever seen diametrically aligned across the beautifully calm and majestic bay from where his cousin, Daisy (Mulligan) lives, who is married to the less than subtle philandering, blue-blooded and arrogant husband Tom Buchanan.
Nick like a fly on the wall is drawn and enthralled by the sweet decadence of this new world of un ending excesses; where everyone is gaudily super rich, filled with illusions, of new loves and new deceits, and it from this experience that Nick decides to be both an inhabiter and a witness; later penning his observed story of how the power of love can sometimes drive some to corruptible dreams and unintended tragedies.
In the first hour “Gatsby” it is terribly over burdened by Director Baz Lurhrmann (“Moulin Rouge” and “Australia”) proven record of being overly infatuated with beautiful imagery, big production sets, dramatic music, intoxicatingly beautiful people, perfectly tailored clothing and his actors way too meticulous scripted physical movement.
There is something slightly unnatural to the subliminal visual eye in the way his actors look and speak their lines to each other, that becomes more distraction than compelling. So for the first 60 minutes I found “Gatsby” to be bland and uninspiring, especially from the by the book performances of its supporting actors. It is only when DiCaprio arrives as “Gatsby” that the film feels like it has a recognizable life pulse, as his performance seemed genuine, vivid, honest and mortal. But was it enough to save the film. Not quite, leaving me disappointed in what could have been both a fabulous delectable experience to look at and to feel as well.
“Gatsby” is like being served a three layer white chocolate mousse cake smothered with flecks of thinly sliced smoke almonds, with two strawberries and several blue berries soaked in Amaretto liqueur and a flute of “White Star”
. You take a bite, you ease back in your chair, you sip a bit of sparkling drink, your wipe the corners of your mouth and you respond by saying “needs more salt”. Clearly for such a palette scintillating dessert, you don’t need salt at all, but you know a whole lot of something is missing if it isn’t as sweet as it looks. Champagne
2 – 3/4 Stars