GATSBY, WHAT GATSBY?Almost a week has passed since I watched Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" and I am still in awe by it, the film literally took my breath away -- its not a film its an experience.
Even if your not a fan of Luhrmann's previous works (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo & Juliet or Moulin Rouge) I recommend you see this film while its still in theaters. Luhrmann brings Fitzgerald's Jazz age literary masterpiece to life, he makes it approachable and contemporary and still manages to stay true to the novel.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
If you have not seen Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby stop reading this post please - I'd hate to spoil anything for ya... just promise you'll come back and read it afterwards, kay? :-)
UNDERSTANDING GATSBYLuhrmann researched all aspects of The Great Gatsby tale and immersed himself in the author's life as well. Such attention to detail helped Luhrmann and Craig Pierce write an adaptation that delves deep into the Jazz Age story and the psychology of the characters so when their script deviates from the novel its still authentically "Fitzgerald."
It is well known that the Daisy Buchanan character was based on the romance Fitzgerald had with Chicago socialite Ginevra King. King left Fitzgerald because he was penniless and instead married a rich tycoon. Knowing this Luhrmann had Carey Mulligan read all the love letters King wrote to Fitzgerald so she was able to draw on them when embodying Daisy.
THE WALL STREET CONNECTION(today and yesterday)
Love, money, excess, corruption, Long Island and Wall Street are just some themes and locales found in the Gatsby parable. Published in 1925 "Gatsby" was a work of fiction that was way ahead of its time - hindsight being 20/20 its easy to make the connection between the decadent drenched pages of Gatsby, the Stock Market crash years later (1929) and ultimately the Great Depression.
I grew up in close proximity to Wall Street, its not only the financial capital of the world its a metaphor for our society. Sadly, we have yet to learn from our past mistakes, the recent subprime mortgage crisis put the US economy in the worse recession since the Great Depression.
(I wrote about this subject in an earlier post: ENTITLEMENT: WALL STREETS KOOL AID)
BACK TO GATSBYBaz brought every character to life, he even made the first person narrative of the novel work. I particularly liked the added element of Nick Carraway being in an asylum for Alcoholism -- it helped bring the character into focus for me.
Towards the end of the movie I felt hung over - and not because I went to a 21 and over showing and was sipping a Negroni and Absinthe while watching the film - no - instead the film was designed to leave us with a sense of overindulgence.
|That's me dressed in 20's attire, |
sipping a Negroni outside the theater
Luhrmann overloads the senses to the point of the extreme, when Gatsby is about to lose his prize (Daisy Buchanan) the shift of energy is as startling as having warm bed sheets ripped off your body on a cold winters morning.
In a word Baz Luhrmann's "Gatsby" is visceral. All the performances in the film are expertly directed to take the audience on a creative, emotional roller coaster ride. This adaptation separates itself from all other's because it is not trying to remain "faithful" to the text; Luhrmann did not handcuff himself to Fitzgerald's prose instead he built on top of it. As a result the viewer actually discovers more about the characters than that which is held in the pages of the novel.
Baz Luhrmann's "Gatsby" is an invitation to visit one of the most exciting times in the early 20th century and I for one am thrilled I attended the soiree.
Luhrmann's adaptation has generated interest in the the novel, it sold more copies in the last week than it did in Fitzgerald's whole lifetime.
|visit some of my boards dedicated to Gatsby|
1920's Love Affair