Gatsby – a gaudy extravagance

THE-GREAT-GATSBY-International-Poster-04-535x247Last night at Rochester Film Society we saw The Great Gatsby. As with the reviews of the film the discussion afterwards was mixed.

possible spolier alert … but not too much!

I pretty much loved the film. The soundtrack jarred as 20’s jazz was crudely mashed with Beyonce and rap. The blatant sensory overload of glaring colour, brazen  activity and overpowering dialogue all contributed to what I think was trying to be an illustration of the clash between pre-modern and a modern lifestyle. I don’t think the sound mashing or the gaudy sensory overload worked particularly well, because it meant watching the film was not always comfortable, but then I suspect that may well of been the aim of Luhrmann all the time.

The acting of DiCaprio and Mulligan oozed a real base chemistry that I think also gave a deliberate vulgar feel to the film. After initially not rating DiCaprio, I think it’s amazing that he has already delivered two amazing roles in Django and Gatsby this year … and it is still only May!

There was a line in the film from Nick, played by Toby Maguire, which grabbed me and has stayed with me… ‘I was within and without’. In his narration role this tended to refer to the Toby character being in both places … both a participant and a practitioner, both an observer and one being observed, both at the centre and on the periphery, both here and there …. or simply both, and! Very apt descriptions that I resonate with in spirituality.

I’ve not blogged about a film in a while but those who have read SHP for a little while will know I wonder whether this is a medium through which God still chooses to communicate to the world … just like God does through any and every art medium within creation. I think an underlying message in this gaudy over played yet beautiful film is one of presence. I think there is a theme of presence which over-rides the pre-modern and modern world which today does not recognise any sacred or secular … but simply a whole creation that is totally sacred.

There was a song overplayed throughout the film from Lana Del Rey, the overplayed lyric being ‘will you still love me when I am no longer young and beautiful?’

I think the underlying message from the creator is ‘Yes’

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