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Customer Review

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 20th Century classic on steroids..., 18 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Great Gatsby [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
For those who know nothing about The Great Gatsby - never read the book or seen previous screen versions of it - count your blessings for you'll be able to soak all of this up without being bothered by whether it's faithful to Scott Fitzgerald's literary masterpiece or whether it's better or worse than previous attempts at bringing it to the big screen. You will, almost certainly, be knocked out by its fantastic sets, its clever plot and its superb love story because as a stand-alone experience, free of any preconceptions, it's an exciting, gripping and deeply moving movie.

For the less fortunate - those who have expectations of what a screen version of this novel should be - things are much more difficult. For, while this is fundamentally the same story that Fitzgerald wrote it's not what he wrote - key parts of it have been missed out, much of what's been kept in has been exaggerated, and quite a lot of it simply isn't in the book. It's not The Great Gatsby as you want or hoped it would be and much gnashing of teeth will almost certainly follow as you witness scene after scene being twisted or, worse still, added-in for dramatic effect.

In rock music terms what it is is a big production "cover version" and, in the end, that's how it should be judged because it's quite clear right from the opening scenes - a sequence that isn't mentioned or referred to anywhere in the book - that Baz Luhrmann has no intention of producing a faithful interpretation of it. What he wants to do is to take Fitzgerald's quite brilliant story and use it as the basis for a fast & furious cinematic "work-out" - a huge spectacle, full of CGI graphics, vast sets, swathes of exciting, technically complex audio-visual virtuosity and, on the way, a great deal of genuine drama.

It is in fact The Great Gatsby on steroids - a pumped-up and distorted version of the original - and the really annoying thing for aficionados of this 20th Century classic is that it works, at times brilliantly, because like all good cover versions the essence of the original has been retained and then extended out into something that's exhilaratingly different. Just don't expect it to be what it's not.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Nov 2013 12:57:23 GMT
A. Dennett says:
An excellent review, thank you.
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