If American author F. Scott Fitzgerald went to the movies with me last night to see The Great Gatsby, I think he would say "magnificent" to Baz Luhrmann's interpretation of his story published 1925. I envision he would appreciate the new film remake off his literature because he himself was much like Luhrmann, a decadent and modern man. Despite what Peter Travers of At The Movies for Rolling Stone regarded the film as "boring and artificial." I personally think Travers needs to take a second look at the film, it was everything far away from boring. I admit I'm not a film critic but just an admirer of art in all forms, and I think if one decides to review a film of this nature, it should be in a fair fashion. If a critic cannot see the beauty in this film, then they must be partly color-blind. So much harmony in it's direction, brilliantly encapsulated in this ultimate modernized version of the book with the same appeal that Luhrmann does best, staying real to his own unique style. Which is what any artist must do, stay true. This was a very original take on this classic American story which at the time it was written it was not critically praised, like most modern art and written works, which need to simmer in our psyche at first glance.
The Great Gatsby official opening night was on Thursday May 9th. I patiently anticipated to see this film for over a year after the announcement that Baz Luhrmann would be directing a brand new version of F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and carefully cast Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan (gasp), Toby McGuire as Nick Carraway, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby (gasp, gasp!). I went to see this in 3D, and the entire time I felt I was part of the exciting atmosphere and in attendance at the chateau-esque lavish parties. I wish I was really there as I had the perfect dress!
Leonardo intelligently exuded power, class, a cool demeanor and subtle romantic sentiment that Robert Redford had captured for the same character in the 1974 Jack Clayton Gatsby film. Carey Mulligan as Daisy was beyond captivating, she floated when she walked, and her voice so crisp, she made it easy to see why Gatsby was so enthralled with her. Before Mulligan was chosen to play Daisy, a giant list of first-rate actresses were considered. The impressive group of co-stars brought life to their characters, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanon, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.The casting was superb.
"He's talking about class structure and wealth and a disjointed value system in America and it's this cycle that keeps sort of repeating itself throughout time, throughout our country, throughout the world," said DiCaprio in an interview about the novel he first read as a teenager.
It's such an important story, the tragicness makes it romantic, and boldly shows the class differences in such a raw and unapologetic way, Luhrmann sincerely made this evident in his direction. The sets stylish extravagant mansions for the mysterious millionaire Gatsby in Long Island is as overwhelming as the dark, seediness, rough/horrid conditions of absolute poverty and hopelessness of the poor in outskirts of New York scenes where Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan's mistress lives over a garage in the "Valley of Ashes."
Costume and set director, and co-producer Catherine Martin deserves much praise in creating the atmosphere, a huge asset to the films explosive splashy and opulent scenes, with help from Tiffany & Co. pearls and diamonds galore, and Brooks Brothers dressing the stars to have the essence of each part. The make-up and hair-artists created styles that will surely inspire the runway fashion trends for the next few seasons, they were absolutely a Jazz-Age look revisited with a modernized freshness. Star-studded soundtrack curated by Jay Z, helped with molding each clip with the grandeur.
There is a scene where Nick had invited Daisy to his humble cottage for tea at Gatsby's request so that after five years of conjuring and waiting he could finally see her. Prior to her arrival in Gatsby's fashion of exuberant extravagance he has his servants arrange the garden and Nick's living room full of flowers and colorful desserts to make Nick's home more suitable and inviting for his and Daisy's first meeting, unbeknownst and to her surprise that this tea was a set up for such a meeting. Gatsby was so boyishly nervous that when Daisy arrives, he jumps out into the rain from the patio door, and finally re-enters from the front door after a few minutes. These scenes are so romantic, and perfect, they would make any girl blush. I could almost smell the freshness of that rooms elaborate and elegant flower arrangements from the theater.
Baz Luhrmann was co-producer, director and co-writer on this film. I know it's a bit early to speak of award season, but Catherine Martin, Baz Luhrmann, and Leonardo DiCaprio all should be recognized by the Academy for this breathtaking film, which guided me in getting utterly lost in a dazzling world of Luhrmann's roaring 1920s. Lavish parties and decadent mansions that in today's society may be considered in poor taste since all that Jazz-Age innocence vanished, replaced with present-time shock worthy world news. We should be thankful for directors like Mr.Luhrmann who are the best story tellers and assist us in escapism a few short hours. It's the ultimate film for movie-goers and perhaps those who are not avid film fanatics should know this is one to see on the big screen just as was his Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge.
The thing that I walked away with was loving it frame by frame and wishing I could thank Baz Luhrmann in person for inviting us to his decadent party as the viewer, but also with the urge that I need to throw out my current wardrobe and chop off my long hair for a new look.