As you may know, The Great Gatsby is my favourite book. Ever. Full stop. I love everything about it. I love F Scott Fitzgerald. I love the description. I love Gatsby and his tragic love. I love how damaged the characters are. I love the seedy side of the American Dream. I love Gatsby’s mansion and the descriptions of the Mad Years. I love his parties and his unread books. I love how much that kiss with Daisy means and it makes me ache how little it means to her.
I even did it for A level and that managed not to spoil it. Nothing captures those hedonistic, hazy Jazz years or the corrupt, broken, ruthless America. In spite of who he is and how he ‘became’, Gatsby is still pure at heart.
Not only that, but it shouldn’t really be hard to film – it’s a visual delight. But the Redford version is about as asexual as Jedward. There’s no power, there’s no drama. It’s like a castrated, sexless Gatsby with no aching, no longing, no sadness. The party scene is weak and uninspiring. It should be epic, flamboyant, crazy. Plus, the acting is weak. Really weak.
This is why I’m longing for Baz Luhrman’s version – oh he of many, many wonderful films.
The first – Strictly Ballroom – genius. The Ugly Duckling, David and Goliath, Come Dancing, Muriel’s Wedding – all rolled in to one.
The second – Romeo+Juliet – epic. Now I confess, I’m not a Leo fan. I don’t go all gooey-eyed at him in Titanic but as a young Romeo, he was so very, very beautiful. Claire Danes was fab – the whole Florida scene was brilliant. The party scene was perfect, Mercutio – excellent. Tybalt – hot-blooded Latin craziness. It manages to take a very average Shakespeare play – possibly the one I like least – and turn it into something a bit better than a poor Jeremy Kyle show plot. Like Strictly Ballroom, the music was also epic. I love Love is in the Air – it’s a spangly, sequiny, crescendoing, tremendous anthem of love. And I love the way the actors deliver their lines – rather than just saying them, which is partly why Coriolanus was so poor. And Prince’s When Doves Cry coupled with Des’ree – such a wonderful soundtrack too.
And then…. Moulin Rouge – it takes a great director to turn the usually cold and wooden Nicole Kidman and turn her into something alive and vibrant. But the scenery, the setting, the fabulous, fabulous glamour of it all…. epic. And not for the first time, I love how he mixes the old and the new – how it’s classic and yet also something with a modern twist.
Let’s just not talk about Australia shall we?
And here, and not before time, is The Great Gatsby.
Now I only need to wait almost seven months for it to come out in the cinema. I think that’s what you call ‘long awaited’.