The Great Gatsby This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 24, 2013
An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s well-acclaimed novel, The Great Gatsby, hit the theatres on May 10, luring in millions of curious spectators.

Set in the early 1920’s, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) moves in to West Egg, home to those of “new money” wealth. He visits his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carrey Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton) in the “old money” East Egg. Carraway also develops a fascination with his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Amid the mania of parties, the past, and a little too much heat, the tension reaches a boiling point. This eventually makes the characters face the adversity of a corrupt society and its lasting detriment.

The filmmakers took on a daunting challenge from the start: captivating general audiences and doing the story justice. Literature lovers expect an impossibly accurate film adaptation when they walk into the theatre, as they clutch their movie ticket in one hand, and a metaphorical copy of the original literary work in the other. Gatsby is no exception. The Great Gatsby’s intricacy provides for endless interpretations, all of which could not possibly be reflected in a single film.

Overall, the cast did an excellent job of displaying their respective character’s emotions and intents. Gatsby and Daisy’s initial reunion after years of separation was awkward, yet still held the wonder and aching desire of that crucial moment. Maguire’s narrations as Nick often consisted of direct passages from the text; they did a great job of weaving Fitzgerald’s prose into the movie. This added heart to the movie, though many of the moral lessons were sacrificed at the expense of over-the-top scenes.

DiCaprio’s usual elegance and sophistication suited him well for the role of Gatsby. Mulligan beautifully exhibited Daisy’s underlying sense of despair despite conformity to the careless lifestyle of the wealthy. Daisy was depicted as poised and knowledgeable; she is granted a unique depth that clearly illustrates why she is distinguished from the likes of “beautiful fools.”

This new film adaptation contains a myriad of qualities designed to appeal to young audiences, as it emphasizes the story’s so-called romance and the extravagance of Gatsby’s famous parties and luxurious lifestyle. The soundtrack featured several contemporary music artists like Lana Del Rey, Will.I.Am, Beyonce, and JAY Z—a delight to many teenagers of the day.

In contrast to the ’74 film, modern special effects allowed for a whole new level of intensity, which contributed largely to the movie’s overall cool factor. The plot was carried out in a lively, exciting tone; some of the scenes seemed to attempt to literally keep the audience’s attention hostage.

All in all, the film in itself is worthy of praise, as it provided a new, fun interpretation to the famous novel.

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