The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby created by Scott Fitzgerald is an ideal representation of love story, heartbreak, and mystery that reflects the spirit of the 1920s. The novel is quite a discerning, sensitive and detailed book as if it is especially created to withstand filmmakers (Stahler n.p.). To perform a movie based on the admirable literary work full of lines of dialogues and memorable phrasing is pretty an unthankful task. The creation of a film that will reflect the depth, soul, and heart of such an outstanding literary work with many of its graceful lines is almost impossible to fulfill. In that aspect, a filmmaker Baz Luhrmann faced many troubles while filming the novel. The expositive sentences of Fitzgerald are almost as essential as his dialogues. Following the critic views, throwing some of the graceful lines into a screen script from the novel is not a perfect way to display the majority of the book’s delicate moments. The Great Gatsby of Fitzgerald and Luhrmann’s filming can be compared since elaborated and entertaining film does not stay 100% genuine to the initial text.
The movie’s producer and director encourage the popular culture tendencies of the contemporary generation with hip hop soundtracks while Fitzgerald created the novel with the twenties audience in his mind. Luhrmann has performed his depiction of The Great Gatsby by speeding forward into nights of parties and still preserving the energy and sometimes a frantic time of the twenties. The Great Gatsby is notably and unmistakably Luhrmann’s screen work. Viewers have come to believe in the director’s insight that is greatly dependent on their tolerance of a man’s notion of performance. It could be almost impossible to exceed Fitzgerald, so that the filmmaker attempted to provide modern audience visually with a different world while still saving the high quality of the venerable author’s pages. The movie begins with applying quotes precisely taken from the novel. Luhrmann did an eminent job with intention to represent the houses in the movie similar to how they were displayed in the novel. Moreover, huge and noisy Gatsby’s parties and the whole town that comes without any invitations were depicted in the same way. The filmmaker seems to stick a movie to the era very well, and the weather, which plays an important role in the book, is also well depicted in the movie.
The major difference from the novel appears at the beginning of the movie when Nick Carraway visits a psychologist and talks to him about Gatsby. Later, Nick prefers to write rather than talk and decides to express all that he feels in a written form. After spending the summer with Gatsby and his company, Nick checks in a sanitarium and is diagnosed as a morbid alcoholic and the one who suffers from insomnia. This part was never included in the novel, but still it was justified in a good way. Nick relates to Gatsby, so the notion that the text is written is not completely ingenious for Baz Luhrmann. The director goes much further than the author, demonstrating Nick’s writing by hand, then typing, and eventually composing his completed manuscript. As for morbid alcoholism, Carraway claims in the book that he has been drunk twice in his life (Fitzgerald 39). Still, the film slyly assumes that Nick is in denial. In the movie, when Nick gets drunk at an apartment of Myrtle and Tom, he is also drugged by Myrtle’s sister. This case is not represented in the book thus making any viewer feeling confused, lost, and a little bit revolted (Bryn n.p.).
The whole storyline of Jordan Baker progresses and her scarcely romance with Nick is removed for the sake of time. In the book, Jordan and Nick have a relationship and seem to have sudden affection for each another. Jordan appears to be unfair, but in the movie, there is no moment of that. She is a pure canvas that the audience never gets to know about all the facts in her entire life. This makes her character more mystical and appealing. Jordan Baker might not even have appeared in the film since there is no relationship between her and Nick Carraway. Jordan is used just to provide viewers with the narration of Gatsby’s life (Bryn n.p.). Not only Jordan is a tepid personality of the novel’s personages, Daisy also lacks definite spark and underlying meanness that stimulate her character move forward in the novel. Instead of proposing a ringing voice similar to that ringing like money, she seems to have weak will power while being a distressed personality that does not match the character (Fitzgerald 120). In the book, Baker is negligent, and in the film, she is acting more reckless. While outstanding literary work appears to be a production of definite time, Luhrmann’s filming seems like one eminent modern fancy-dress party with rap music (“The Great Gatsby” n.p.). The director connects it with calm moments between major personages that provide the audience with a breather. It results in the creation of a stylistic movie that manages to be similar to the Fitzgerald’s novel. When Nick lunches with Wolfsheim and Gatsby, Luhrmann takes viewers through a secret door to the barber shop and speakeasy full of corrupted men and dancing females. Luhrmann decided to include the police commissioner in a scenario in order to prove a point of corruption. When Tom verbally attacks by Gatsby in New York, much of dialogues appear to be the same. However, when Jay starts to lose control and realizes that Daisy is present in the room and can be out of his embrace, his fierce face transforms into childish surprise. Jay’s childlike antics are a good callback to the time when Carraway blamed him for behaving childishly before he met Daisy.
In the end of the book, Gatsby goes swimming, waiting for a call from Daisy. While the novel depicts Jay climbing aboard a float and his manservant waiting for a call, a driver hears the shots. Gatsby is shot, and he is taken away from his dream to be successful in winning the girl (Fitzgerald 170). The film takes quite a spectacular approach in this case. Instead, Gatsby dives into the water and gets out when the phone rings. In the meanwhile, Wilson takes his shot at a very suitable moment. Gatsby dies feeling he may have won Daisy who is calling to say she is leaving Tom and chooses him. It is obvious for the audience that it was only Nick calling on the phone (Rawden n.p).
In both novel and its filming, Gatsby is lonely in death. Still, in this regard, the movie is even stricter to Jay, dropping his father’s last appearance and sudden arrival at the funeral of an individual whom Nick previously met in Gatsby’s studies. It is the same man who indicates that Jay Gatsby has real books, but did not cut the pages. Viewers meet him in the film, but he does not mention the books. His later appearance is entirely dropped (Haglund n.p.). Baz Luhrmann decides to minimize the role of Gatsby’s father. Mr. Gatz spent a lot of time with Nick after Gatsby’s assassination (Fitzgerald 182). In the novel, Gatz’s presence clearly extends Gatsby’s disguise, which is an eventual attempt to wrest him off the myth of his own making. While the director is getting confused with the filming’s final moments, it was decided to refocus audience’s attention on Daisy’s daughter, eventually representing the real child (Ehrlich n.p.).
In conclusion, it is important to note that the creation of perfect filming with the depth of such an outstanding literary work with all its details, phrases, and lines is almost impossible to realize. Consequently, a filmmaker Baz Luhrmann faced many troubles while filming. The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald and Luhrmann’s filming cannot be accurately compared since elaborate and amusing film does not appear to be 100% identical to the original text. No one can replace the great author, his thoughts and authentic phrases. In his The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann represents his vision of the novel and America of the twenties. Therefore, the film adaptation has a right to exist despite the criticism of distracting from the authentic text of Fitzgerald since it is quite an entertaining and colorful representation of America of that time for the modern generation.