“You remind me of a rose, an absolute rose.”
I still remember my sixth form English teacher prancing around our classroom gleefully reciting this line.
I also vividly remember loving studying F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby but hating Jack Clayton’s 1974 film adaptation.
Usually the part in English class where you get to watch the movie of the book you’re studying is everyone’s favourite lesson, but this time round, not so much.
The old-fashioned flick failed to excite a bunch of 90’s born teens, despite Mrs Crawford’s many attempts to try and instil excitement in us about Mia Farrow playing Daisy Buchanan.
Mia Farrow? Who’s that, we asked.
Now six years on, my old classmates and I rushed to the movie theatre to check out Baz Lurhmann’s modernised version of the American classic with high hopes.
Having been a fan of Lurhmann’s earlier works Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet I braced myself for a slightly off-kilter from reality version of the story, and it’s just what I got.
The story is brought straight into modern day with a loud, hip-hop theme soundtrack which to my puzzlement works surprisingly well with the flamboyant costuming of 1920’s attire.
The fashion was a highlight for me. Catherine Martin, the woman behind all the glitz and glam, has done a stellar job of making you want to get your glad rags on and jump straight into the party.
Lurhmann moves scene to scene with a mixture of filter fades and typewriter text transitions which helps the flashback style of the book flow in movie format.
But it would all be nothing if it weren’t for the brilliant cast.
Carey Mulligan is a stand out as Daisy Buchanan. What Mia Farrow made cringe-worthy she makes effortlessly chic. To put it simply in Daisy’s words, she always looks “so cool”.
Isla Fisher is a hilariously flamboyant Myrtle Wilson, Joel Edgerton is a slimy Tom Buchanan and Tobey Maguire brings the rather boring narrator role of Nick Carraway to life.
But then comes Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, and right from that very first glinting smile appearance with “I’m Gatsby” he’s got everyone in the audience won over.
I’m sorry Mrs Crawford, I know you think Robert Redford was a handsome Gatsby but he’s got nothing on Leo, especially when it comes to that pink suit.
The action packed drama in the last 20 minutes unfolded with many a gasp in the theatre and plenty of tears from one of my neighbours.
A thrilling finale before the film wrapped up peacefully with that famous monologue about the green light, the orgastic future, running faster and boats against the currents, the perfect end for a ‘great’ film.
The film’s had mixed reviews, I think Lurhmann’s style is the reason for that. Many of my friends thought the style didn’t gel with the classic story but when taking a story set in the Jazz Age and releasing it in 2013 I think it had to be a director a bit radical who took this on.
The flick will be a useful tool for the modern day English class, all the theme studies about the American dream, the symbolism of the green light at the end of the dock and the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are just as important in Luhrmann’s rendition as Fitzgerald’s novel.
I just hope now that Mrs Crawford will give her class the pleasure of Leo and Mulligan and wave good bye to her dear Farrow and Redford.