I’m not a huge fan of movies — it’s something I need to fix — so it’s a rare thing to get excited about an upcoming film, especially one based on a favourite novel. I had been anticipating the new Great Gatsby since learning it was being made and had somewhat high hopes it would finally do justice to the book. After reading Richard Brody’s review in The New Yorker I’m left disappointed.
Yes I know what you’re saying: who listens to film critics? Well, there are a few critics whose opinion I respect and Brody is one. He seems to be able to put into words what I’m thinking when it comes to movies and how they’re made. That sounds strange but it’s true. He doesn’t resort to the awful TV commercial sloganeering of the vast majority of critics, he crafts well considered reviews with history and context. Imagine that!
My intention isn’t to turn this into a meta-review but there were a couple of statements in his review I wanted to pull out for being awesome:
His whizzing 3-D cinematography offers lots of motion but no seduction;
That, right there, sums up everything I hate about movies today. How directors can spend tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars on special effects that have absolutely no deep emotion attached to them is amazing to me.
but Luhrmann, a man of his times, has no patience for mystery, no sense of true and brazen immodesty
Again, sums up everything I’ve come to dislike about modern media: no patience for mystery. In the age of oversharing and social networks there is little to no mystery left in our lives. We must know — now — and I think the lack of seduction and patience for mystery go hand in hand.
I won’t be seeing The Great Gatsby, not in theatres anyway. Maybe I’ll catch it as a rental and make up my own mind. Until then I’ll stick to the book.