I vaguely remember watching the 1970s movie version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this latest remake.
My three words to describe the 2013 version of "The Great Gatsby" are: outrageous, stunning and entertaining.
If I had to add three more, they would be: a bit long.
The music is an odd mix of Jazz and hip-hop, which surprisingly fits with the grab-on-to-the-latest-fad mood of the era. The over-the-top party scenes convey the manic nature of Gatsby and the outrageous time in America’s history.
The stunning visual effects recapture the era of the 1920s. The architecture and set decorations of the Buchanan and Gatsby mansions are vivid and lovely; a stark contrast to the poor working-class New York neighborhoods. The car scenes and dance scenes are dizzying. But I love the Flapper and Jazz-Age costumes and suspect there might be a revival of the 1920s style of dress in fashion circles.
Leonardo DiCaprio is dashing and quite convincing as Jay Gatsby, mixing an aura of mystery with a need for acceptance and love. At times, however, his attire brought to mind commercials for Ralph Lauren and Channel No. 5. Maybe that was the intent.
While I wondered why an American actor couldn’t be cast for the role of Daisy Buchanan, Carey Mulligan did not disappoint. Her combination of doe-eyed admiration and wild-eyed mania brings her character to life. Toby Maguire, playing the role of Daisy's cousin, the alcoholic and impressionable Nick Carraway, has outgrown his Spiderman persona.
While “The Great Gatsby” is entertaining, at almost two and one-half hours long, I found myself wondering when it would end—although that could’ve been because I drank a large beverage during the movie and the water scene at the end made me want to rush out and use the restroom.
I was glad that I stayed to watch the final scene and hear the memorable last line of Fitzgerald’s acclaimed novel, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
One measure of a movie’s entertainment value is if I would pay to see it again.
The answer is: Yes, I would.