Sunday, February 24, 2013

Watching The Great Gatsby (2000)

I recently watched the 2000 adaption of The Great Gatsby. I remember not loving the novel when I first read it, but perhaps I'll like (and understand) it better now. At any rate, I did enjoy the film, which was quite interesting. Its portrayal of the upper-class is so biting, and I have a feeling it's even more so in the book.

The book/movie is narrated by Nick Carraway as he tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a poor soldier who returns from World War I to discover that his (rich) sweetheart has given up on him and married a fellow millionaire. He proceeds to build up an enormous fortune, and moves across the bay from her, hoping to win her back. Gatsby's parties become famous, drawing crowds of people. The movie is basically about what happens when Daisy and Gatsby meet up again, and the disaster that it results in.

There are many, many film adaptions of The Great Gatsby out there, but since I watched this one first, I have a feeling that it will be my favorite (if I even get to watching any of the other versions). There is one from 1974 with Robert Redford, and while I love Robert Redford and his films (though I've only seen "The Sting" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), I really can't see him playing a Jay Gatsby. Watching a few clips online, my first impression of the '74 version was that it was really...sweaty. The book is set in the summer on the East Coast, so that's actually probably more realistic.

Anyway, I liked this version; the actors were all great. Nick, Daisy, and Gatsby are all played by very attractive people, but somehow, they look so ugly, so washed out. I think that was intentional, and it certainly worked. What was a bit annoying was Nick's narrative voice-over, which is the easy way out of getting information across. A lot of conversations in the movie were taken word-for-word from the book.

4 stars.

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