How Great is This Gatsby? | Thomas M. Doran | Catholic World Report
A review of Baz Luhrmann’s new film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Ad Finem Fidelis…faithful to the end. Well, not exactly. These words are inscribed on Gatsby’s mansion gate and are laden with irony in relation to this film.
When a film is made of a great book, I am willing to tolerate a fair amount of artistic license, character elimination, and innovation, but messing with the principal themes of the book is verboten. To Kill a Mockingbird lost some characters and some scenes, and The Lord of the Rings took some liberties with the plot, but I consider these films to be faithful to the main themes of the Lee and Tolkien stories.
We have become so inured to action, glitz, and sensory assault that making a big budget film without a healthy dose of sensory stimuli is practically unthinkable. When such directorial innovations are confined to, say, a sledding Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit, I groan and move on, but I draw the line when stimulation defines the film, as it does with this new Gatsby, especially as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story has so much to offer.
Having said this, there are aspects of this film that are appealing and compelling, so stay tuned.
Everyone who has read The Great Gatsby, or who has seen earlier films, knows about the title character’s obsession with Daisy, and the way this obsession has changed, even defined, his life.
So far, so good. There’s a lot more to the story than this.