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Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

This movie has made me want to read the novel.
This movie has made me want to read the novel.

First off, let me tell you that I have not read the book that this film is based off of, so I have absolutely no bias towards it in the slightest. I went into the theatre expecting nothing great. No pun intended.

The feeling I came out with surprised me.

This movie actually was great. In fact, it’s one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve gone to see in a long while. Everything just seemed to flow well together and smoothly. Many critics were rattled by what they saw as an overt use of colour and brightness, but I found that it wasn’t any more over the top than it needed to be.

The music was interesting, as they chose to fuse present day songs with the 1920s style setting. Amazingly, this didn’t impact the movie in the way you think it would. The flow remained smooth and nothing felt really out of place other than the fact that the audience undoubtedly noticed that it was current music. The song choices themselves were great and added to the scenes they were used in, making everything pleasing to the eye.

Speaking of pleasing to the eye, Leonardo DiCaprio had one of the best performances in this movie that I’ve seen in a while. Again, I haven’t read the novel, but it felt like he played Jay Gatsby to a tee. He made you feel the pain and hope that Gatsby held and made you root for him within minutes of screen time. He was easy to sympathize with and did an unreal job of showing the difficulty his character had with the love he held for Daisy (Carey Mulligan).

Specifically, the scene that Gatsby has with the main antagonist, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), is one of the most intense and well done scenes in the entire movie. It has the audience focused and on the edge of their seats. The tension in the the theatre was so thick I could have cut it with a knife.

Tobey Maguire did a solid job in his performance as the main character, Nick Carraway. He played the “sidekick” role in this movie rather well and everything really did seem as though it as coming from behind his eyes. He was easy to identify with and the audience quickly was able to cozy in with him for the full ride of the flick.

The narration, spoken by Maguire, can only be taken from the novel itself. The words are all so perfect for the movie and are brilliant in themselves. The writing is just fabulous, it is no wonder that the book was such a huge success. As an author myself, this is always what I’m most interested in and Mr. Fitzgerald (the author) definitely proved himself worthy of high praise.

The words make the movie that much more intense and poetic, and it just wouldn’t be the same without them. They also help the audience understand Carraway’s character while simultaneously adding to the plot.

The ending of the flick is, of course, sad and for a moment almost disappointing until it is understood that it could not have ended any other way in Fitzgerald’s mind. Carraway ends up broken, Gatsby dies and Daisy leaves with her jerk of a husband.

But when the film ends with the lines about the past, something which Gatsby and Carraway talk about extensively earlier on, one just has to give the author and the movie the respect it deserves. I know I’m being a little vague here, but you really just have to see the movie to understand what I’m talking about at this point.

If I had any knocks on this movie, it would have to be that Carraway ends up turning the story he’s telling to a doctor into a novel in which he calls, The Great Gatsby. This seems super lame until you realize that this book was written in 1925, so Fitzgerald did it before a lot of other filmmakers and authors overused it.

Overall, it was a great film with amazing writing, good acting (DiCaprio is really worth seeing) and a fun but mysterious feel. I highly recommend it.

Rating out of 100: 80


Sneak Peek at my Upcoming Novel

Here’s the sneak peak of my upcoming novel that you guys wanted to see. This is just a small part of a chapter. This book shall be aimed towards young adults, so be cautious of reading this if you’re any younger than seventeen. Without further ado, here’s the tidbit:

  He had to be very close to them now. He knew the alley ended not even twenty paces ahead. Squinting through the swirling air, Jake desperately wished that the sunlight could penetrate the horrors of his village. But it never did. At least, not enough. 

  Taking a few more steps forward, Jake could finally begin to see shapes forming. And as he removed his hands from his pockets, he was forced to wrinkle his nose in disgust at the scene before him.

  By the goddess, he thought solemnly. 

  There was a huge, brute of a man who was standing with his trousers around his ankles. He held in his shovel-like hands a young woman, pressed firmly against the wall. Blood trailed from the woman’s mouth and one of her eyes was swollen shut. The man was making grunting noises and the woman, in turn, was calling out in her now small whimper, begging for salvation. 

  Jake’s gut lurched and he had to stop himself for a moment and lean against the wall, before nausea gave way to rage. Stepping forward again, so that he would now be clearly visible, Jake Creed called out in as threatening a tone as he could muster.

  “Grown tired of the brothel, have we?”

  The brute turned his shaggy head towards him in surprise and stopped his movements just as quickly. The woman seemed in disarray. She was still calling out.

  “I don’t care if there’s a war happening right now,” Jake said, “It does not give you the right to do as you please. You’re on my side of this village.”

  A devilish grin suddenly sprouted from the man’s lips and he loosed himself from the woman, half laying her, half dropping her to the dank stone cobbles. He hastily pulled up his trousers and then turned fully to face Jake. 

  It was at this point that Jake Creed understood he had made a mistake. The brute’s face was distorted in cold pleasure, his deeply sunken eyes peering out in malice. A few wisps of hair sagged along his head as he raised his massive hands and cracked his knuckles; the sound bouncing off of the alley walls. He himself, nearly stretched from wall to wall, his bulk seeming to suffocate the shadows. Then he drew a long, pointed dagger from somewhere in his trousers and brandished it, his yellow teeth shining.

  “You dare interrupt me? Do you know who I am?” the man bellowed. “I am Garth Humber! I am the Captain of the Guard, Commander of the First Squadron for Greil Lawson, our Coryphaeus!”

  Jake groaned and steadied himself. The smell of alcohol radiated off of the man’s body and struck him like lightning. Narrowing his eyes, Jake straightened himself fully. No turning back now.

  “I don’t care who you are.”

  The beady eyes gleamed. “You don’t know a thing, boy. You’re in my village.”

  With that, the monstrous man leapt forward with impressive speed, swinging his weapon blindly, drunkenly. 

  Jake swore and ducked the first swipe, backing up and out of Garth Humber’s range. Dead Man’s Alley was far too narrow, he knew, there was nowhere to go but back or into the massive, organic wall that was blindly whipping his dagger at him. But he couldn’t leave the woman there. Not like this.

  Watching Humber’s movements, Jake timed himself perfectly and thrust forward, hitting the ground and rolling between the man’s spread legs. Getting to his feet, Jake curled his hand into a fist and let loose a hard blow to the brute’s maw just as he was stupidly wheeling to face him. 

  The hoary man staggered back, dropping his dagger to the cobbles with a clatter. He clutched at his face and roared. “You broke my nose! I think you broke my nose! You bastard!”

  Jake paid no attention and instead rushed to the young woman’s side, removing his musty jacket and draping it over her. She stared into his eyes blankly, her mouth moving noiselessly. She was still trying to say that word. The plea for aid.

  With a new fire rising in his belly, Jake Creed rose back to his feet and faced the Captain of the Guard. Humber had removed his hands from his face now and blood was streaming from his nose and dripping down his captain’s coat in gobs. He spat on the ground in front of Jake.

  “You’re dead, boy.”

  “You’re not fit for active duty, Captain,” Jake snarled, his voice fully of mockery.

  Garth clenched his fists, stooping to pick up his dagger again before launching himself forward. 

  Jake ducked, dodged and slid as quickly as he could, trying to avoid the wild attempts of the brute to decapitate him. He could feel his body growing weary, after all, it hadn’t been long since he’d been pushed to his physical limits in training. 

  That’s when the blade caught him. It nicked him on the shoulder and he cried out in pain, now not quick enough to avoid the second blow from the man’s meaty fist as it slammed into the side of his head. 

  He fell sideways, hit the wall hard and dropped onto something squishy.

  They didn’t call it Dead Man’s Alley for nothing.

  Small lights were popping in and out of his vision, seeming to laugh with hilarity as they blinded him. The world around him was spinning. That strike had been more damaging than Jake had first thought as he struggled to get to his feet.

  Garth Humber howled and thundered towards him, snatching him by the collar of his shirt and holding him up off the ground so that their eyes met. His nose was only adding to his already grotesque features as blood was beginning to dry and clot around his face. His eyes held no remorse.

  Without a word, the Captain of the Guard raised his dagger with his free hand and drew back his arm. Jake was still too dizzy to react. He didn’t know which direction Humber was in, or which of the three was the real one. 

  Then, just as the brute brought his weapon forward in a swift, surprisingly clean motion, all of the dim light in the alley vanished. 

  Jake Creed felt himself fall to the ground immediately, landing hard on his rump and twisting his left ankle in the awkward fall. He could smell the rotting flesh around him and the damp, slimy murk that thrived in the cracks of the cobbles. 

  As he once again tried to stand, he leaned heavily against the wall, attempting to keep most of his weight off of his ankle. He realized that his clothes were now soaked in some sort of sticky substance. It seemed to seep right through his shirt and attach itself to his skin, gripping the cells with an unrelenting force. 

  The alley was now pitch, pitch black. This was the most blind Jake had ever felt in his life. Not a single spec of light was able to burst through the cage of darkness. A sudden wave of icy cold overcame his body and all at once he was blanketed in unnatural shivers. He felt nauseous again and clutched at the brick alley walls. 

  Reaching out carefully with his other hand, he could no longer feel Garth Humber’s body. Nor his presence. It suddenly seemed as if he never existed. Not even a shred of residue was left in front of Jake, and he wasn’t in the least sorry.

  Trying to blink away the inky blackness, Jake realized that the woman had stopped her continuous moans. In fact, there was no sound in the alley anymore. None at all. He couldn’t even hear his own breathing, or his heart thumping madly against the confines of his chest.

  The scream pierced Jake Creed’s body like no other noise he had ever heard.

  It came first as a long, single sound from above. Then it came in short bursts as it became apparent that the screamer was trying to find a way to scream and sob at the same time. It latched onto Jake’s body like a virus and stuck there. Every second, the cry attempted to rip his soul from his body and tear into his ear lobes viscously.

  Jake Creed stood dumbfounded. He couldn’t be sure of what was happening. No one could be sure. He thought perhaps that the woman was silent because she too, was listening to the pleading cry of Garth Humber.

  Just as Jake was about to try and hobble around in an attempt to find the woman, the screams ceased. Instinctively, he looked upwards and instantly felt nauseous again. He didn’t really know if he was looking up at all; how could he be certain? 

  As Jake looked back down again, or thought he looked back down, he noticed a small light abruptly appear about fifty paces in front of him. Locking onto the small light, Jake’s first thought was that it was green. Emerald, rather. And there was not one light, no, but two, staying stationary in the black.

  Squinting, he noticed that the lights were in the shape of small circles or orbs. They seemed to float slightly closer for a mere second before staying still again. They almost looked as though they were peering at him. But how could that be unless…

  By the goddess, Jake thought. They’re eyes.

  As soon as he understood this, the wind seemed to leave his body. He could no longer breathe and his lungs were screaming in desperation, just as his mind kept telling him to run, run, run. The shivers had never ended and he continued vibrating, his teeth chattering but making no sound. 

  The only thing that could penetrate the black were those eyes.

  Then, without warning, the eyes blinked out and Jake was enveloped in darkness once more. Not even a second later, the dim lighting of mid-afternoon returned to the shadowy alley. He looked directly to where the eyes had just been, but there was nothing. 

  Letting his sore eyes adjust, Jake rubbed them and blinked several times. With the dim light had come the warmth and thus his shudders ceased. He decided that he needed to get out of there. Take the girl and leave this wretched place. 

  Taking his first step away from the wall, Jake felt his good foot splurge down into something that hadn’t been there previously. More somethings snapped and popped underneath of his weight and liquids were running rampant through his footwear like a fast flowing river. Swallowing, Jake looked down.

  And retched violently all over the remains of Garth Humber.