Gatsby

Sometimes I feel like a wiser man would turn away. Sometimes I feel like that man would be a coward. But is it not the case that the wisdom of the world is often really folly? To rise above the universal on the strength of the absurd – that I shall endeavour to achieve. 

 

In other news, I watched Gatsby yesterday. I have heard much of it, some in favour, some against. And moreover I had my own expectations to deal with. As such apprehension and anticipation truly mingled as I sat down with my parents. The former seemed to win as the first 10 minutes turned my insides. It was gaudy, over-the-top, loud, and excessive. It wasn’t Gatsby. I groaned inwardly as I prepared myself for 2 hours of this; I was, after all, the one who suggested watching this. But once Luhrmann was done with his grand opening, and began to pay attention to his characters and the intimacies of their individuals and relationships, I began to get captivated. This isn’t to say that that gaudiness never did rear its head again – more than once I had to restrain myself from passing judgement on the anachronistic high-highfalutin nature of everything and tell myself that it was merely a decent effort at re-situating a classic and playing up the decadence that Fitzgerald had wished to satirize. But if you could look past that, I feel that the film delivers, and indeed, stays quite true to the book. About the wonderful portrayals of the characters by the cast much has already been said, and I concur; DiCaprio, Mulligan, and Maguire all did an amazing job, making Gatsby, Daisy and Nick all feel extremely real. In addition to that however, I found that the story was actually moving. And as always, I hold that if something moves you, it has succeeded in one way or another. But of course if that was the film’s only merit then it is hardly worth mentioning. Thankfully, it isn’t. For the source of its emotional strength is found in the book itself. The key elements were brought out superbly – Gatsby’s desperation/hope, Carraway’s within-and-without, the decadence, superficiality and carelessness of the rich. I feel then, that it has in fact made the story clearer for me, and heightened my appreciation of what Fitzgerald was trying to say. Insofar as it does that then, I would say the film was a success.

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