Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Great Gatsby

Based on the novel of the same name by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby was released in 1974, directed by Jack Clayton, and stars Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, and Sam Waterston (whom you may know from Law & Order). Of note, the scenario was written by Francis Ford Coppola (the Godfather series).

The story is told from the point of view of Nick Carraway (Waterston), who has just moved to long Island. He is very intrigued by his neighbor Jay Gatsby (Redford), a millionaire of mysterious background desperate to win the heart of Daisy (Farrow), a women who was once in love with him and married someone else. Incidentally, Daisy is one of Nick’s cousins.
I don’t read book, I watch movies. So, as I mentioned numerous times in previous posts, I cannot comment on the accuracy of the film compared to the book. General consensus seems to be that the film adaptation is basically a long bad version of a short, great book. I have to admit, in spite of the great cast and the good screenplay writer, I got bored. And I hear they’re making a new version with Leonardo DiCaprio!! God, no.

Nick Carraway: There was music from my neighbor's house through those summer nights. In his enchanted gardens, men and girls came and went like moths, among the whispering and the champagne and the stars. I believe that few people were actually invited to these parties. They just went. They got into automobiles that bore them out to Long Island, and somehow they ended up at Gatsby's door. Come for the party with a simplicity of heart that was it's own ticket of admission.

Good things, huh, thing, first: the music is haunting.
Redford is gorgeous, granted, but is not enigmatic enough to pull off the role. Mia Farrow is also very beautiful, and portrays the shallow and vain woman very well, but does not give enough substance to her character for the viewer to understand why on earth someone would wait for years to win her heart back. Waterston as Nick is ok, I guess, but all in all his character is pale. Someone you see and forget instantly.
It kind of made me feel sad, all together – Daisy’s husband is cynical and unfaithful, he has an affair with a quasi hysterical woman, and the conclusion of the movie leaves hopelessness on the human nature: money, selfishness. It left me depressed. Although I’ll also admit that, since I did not read the book, I was expecting the usual all-happy ending, and that cynical end kind of saved the movie a little. Not enough to make up for more than two hours of my time. 
That said, as I read somewhere: read the book, don’t watch the movie.

Daisy: Rich girls don’t marry poor boys

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