Excessive, but of the right kind
AFTER WEEKS of waiting I saw The Great Gatsby in cinema. I went to the 7:10 pm screening and was disappointed at the rather low turnout of viewers. I was surprised when, just a few minutes before the movie began, I spotted AA Agdamag, Jopi Arce, Tel Almanon, and Karla Araneta—classmates in med school—squeezing themselves in my row. I'm used to watching movies on my own, but they made great company.
The film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, was faithful to F. Scott Fitzgerald's story, which you should read, if you haven't yet. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby was brilliant. I watch all his films. Carey Mulligan as Daisy was pleasant to look at; she sounded as dumb as she did in the book. Tobey Maguire as the narrator Nick Carraway did well, too. It is true, after all: he can play roles other than Spiderman.
The movie was dazzling, colorful, ostentatious it can give you seizures. True to the excesses of the 1920s, the film producers didn't spare any money in demonstrating how grand Gatsby's parties were. The costumes were fun to look at, even for a fashion ignoramus like myself. The music, a fusion of the melodies from the period and modern songs by Kanye West, was perfect.
True, I had read the book weeks before. I already knew how things would turn out. But I was still surprised at seeing Gatsby's mansion and Nick's hut at West Egg; they didn't exactly look that way in my imagination, but they affirmed some of my preconceived ideas. I was thinking of a bigger, longer shoreline in front of Tom Buchanan's mansion, but the movie showed a well-manicured lawn instead. The scene where Gatsby was throwing clothes on the bed, making Daisy so happy—I hadn't really understood the point of that in the book, but the scene was moving. It brought Karla, who sat beside me, to tears.
Baz Luhrmann's film dug deep into the core of human ambitions and motivations without being too overly preachy, and it did not disappoint.