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Within and Without

9 May

great-gatsby-posterIt comes within the first few seconds of the film.

Tobey Maguire, playing Nick Carraway, utters the first lines of The Great Gatsby. Except, they’re not the words as written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. They’re a close approximation — just without the elegance and thematic context.

That’s your first indication that Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the Fitzgerald classic will be good, but not quite as good as its source material.

But really, how could it be? Gatsby is a book that many (but not everyone) consider the Great American Novel. One that’s been a high-school-reading staple for generations. A novel that seems damned near impossible to adapt in any sort of satisfactory fashion, despite four big-screen attempts (including a 1974 version that starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow).

So having Nick (and Luhrmann) reset the audience’s expectations right off the bat frees us up to just watch the movie and not be disappointed later.

It’s kind of a smart move, if you think about it. Continue reading