By Milena Beltramo
Whenever a novel is adapted into a movie, the phrase “the book was better” will inevitably be heard. From the mouths of long-time fans of the novel, bitter critics and casual observers alike, we hear protests of indignation – that the shining, flawless beauty of the original work is sullied by the movie, feeble and pale in comparison.
Not so with The Great Gatsby. Though initially your feeling may be somewhat conflicted, ultimately this screenplay was awe-inspiring. Certainly it had its ups and downs, but on the whole it was a thoughtful, witty companion to the novel.
Though this movie is both an excellent reflection of the book and a strong standalone feature, it is definitely not a replacement. Please, please, for your sake, do not rely on this movie for your class project.
The movie managed to hit most of the important thematic points of the novel, from the obvious (the green light), to the obscure (Jordan’s sporty figure). While the film largely remained true to the book, there were a few significant misses that do make this movie a no-go if you were hoping to watch it instead of reading for class.
Pivotal details like Jordan’s driving, the existence of Daisy’s child, and the appearance of Gatsby’s father are neglected. Instead, the movie is embellished with bizarre alterations, like the casting of Meyer Wolfsheim as Indian and the admittance of Nick into a sanitarium.
Yet, unlike previous (and notorious) attempts at portraying Gatsby, Leonardo DeCaprio pulled off the character almost flawlessly, alongside a very competent cast including Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey McGuire as Nick Carraway, and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, though the ball was somewhat dropped by Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.
And despite the odds, the film is backed up by a surprisingly brilliant, anachronistic soundtrack composed equally surprisingly by Jay-Z. With brand new tracks like “100$ Bill” by Jay-Z accompanied by revamped favorites from the past like “Love is the Drug” by Bryan Ferry and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, the music of this movie is acutely relevant to the emotional and social intricacies of the plot and setting.
All in all, an excellent movie, true to the novel, colorful and funny, that won’t disappoint.