“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can” ~Jay Gatsby The latest version of The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann, uses many of F Scott Fitzgerald’s original descriptions and dialogue. It respects the fact that the book is told from the point of view of Nick Carraway, cousin of Daisy, the woman who Gatsby loves. It carefully reproduces various details, such as the clock Gatsby drops when meeting Daisy again for the first time since she married Tom Buchanan five years earlier. It follows Fitzgerald’s instructions that Tom’s lover’s husband’s garage is beside the “valley of ashes” and a huge optician’s billboard portraying the eyes of Dr. T J Eckleburg. It accurately presents everything that Fitzgerald describes, using the technology generation as a substitute for imagination.
Nick Carraway, some time after that summer spent with Gatsby, had checked into a sanitarium, diagnosed by a doctor as “morbidly alcoholic.” Fitzgerald’s Nick does refer to Gatsby as “the man who gives his name to this book”, so the idea that The Great Gatsby is a text written by Nick is not entirely original with Luhrmann though the filmmaker takes this much further than Fitzgerald, showing Nick writing by hand, then typing, and finally compiling his finished manuscript. He even titles it first just Gatsby then adding by hand, “The Great”. As for that morbid alcoholism, Nick claims in the novel that he’s “been drunk just twice in my life,”
but the movie slyly implies that he’s in denial, by showing him cross out “once” for “twice,” and then in the story suggesting that it was far more than that.
The plot of the film is pretty much entirely faithful to the book, but one of the side stories was cut out. The affair between Nick and Jordan Baker, the friend of Daisy’s from Louisville who is a well known golfer. Daisy promises to set them up, to push them “accidentally in linen closets and out to sea in a boat”. Nick says he found Jordan “frightening” at first, a word...
Cited: Berlastky, Noah. "The Great Gatsby Movie Needed to Be More Gay." The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 13 May 2013. Web. May 2013. .
Brody, Richard. "“The Great Gatsby”: Try Again, Old Sport." The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 10 May 2013. Web. May 2013 .
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.
Moore, Charles. "Baz Luhrmann 's The Great Gatsby." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited , 19 May 2013. Web. May 2013. .
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