A classic story comes to life for modern audiences

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The Great Gatsby is the most enchanting movie to hit the theatres so far this year.
Baz Luhrmann’s newest movie is based off the classic novel of the same name, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. For those of you who were absent for the week in high school English that was dedicated to reading the book, the story follows the tale of mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Observed through the eyes of Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), Gatsby employs all of his charm, wit and money in his efforts to win back the heart of his long lost–and now married–love, Daisy (Carey Mulligan).
There were a lot of ways that this new rendition of an American classic could have gone long, and Luhrmann managed to dodge every one of them. The plot of the movie is faithful to the book, but he still manages to make the film his own with daring modern twists and artistic effects.
The film has many dreamlike qualities. For example, while Nick is narrating through his manuscript, the words he is writing sometimes tumble across the screen, overlapping the scene they’re describing. At other points Nick’s character appears at two places at once, both observing a scene and taking part of it. These kind of artistic moves on Luhrmann’s part are not only entertaining, but they capture the soul of Fitzgerald’s book about the American dream.
While the film itself is mostly historically accurate, it is paired with a modern soundtrack. Setting the dapper and charismatic Jay Gatsby’s elaborate parties to a modern track including rap music was an unexpected and risky move, but it paid off. Rather than distract from the movie, the soundtrack helps relate the plights and emotions of characters from an era gone by to a modern audience. Fans of the book will adore this fantastic tribute to Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, and others will be enthralled by the story Luhrmann brings to life like never before. This is a must-see movie worthy of its incredible counterpart.

–Cedar Goslin

The Broadside
(Contact: cgoslin@cocc.edu)

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