Monday, July 29, 2013

The Great Gatsby (movie review)

"I was the same man inside and outside" is one of the refrains.

So is he betraying erstwhile friends in spilling these beans, or do we know from the get go it's a fantasy?

Gatsby is a self made man, in the estimation of our morbidly alcoholic in patient.

We think our Old Sport gets out, by telling his story, restoring perspective and sobriety.

At least he's learned some self discipline, thanks to a kind doctor who wants to nudge him along.

Like, if you study literature at Yale, what makes you think you're cut out to sell bonds?  No, you need to fall in love with your characters.

He's sailed around the world, went to Oxford, a war hero, and now he's at the top of the heap, all for love.  He's the hero of his own life, defined by his quest.

Anyway, whatever the critics say, I'm fine with this blending of imaginative, faux reality, with everyday movie-making competence.  We saw some of that in J. Edgar, even The Aviator.

The Coal World (a Machine World -- a Matrix) with the all-seeing billboard is clearly the occult unconscious, that feared-yet-attractive place, black and bleak, a place on which the rich project their darkest fantasies.

Our storyteller is initiated into this underground through his mentor's "game world", through a gas station, which for me echoed with eXistenZ and the gas station there.  Be a player.  Hop in.

What sustains the Gatsby's hope is his dream has come so far.  The dream-like quality of the scenery continues to feel like "in someone's head".

The storyteller is in a sanitarium we remember, with a case of writer's block.  We're living his dream, of perfection.  An alter ego.

Gatsby pushes too hard but who can blame him when he's so close.  He kind of blows it, there's a train wreck (metaphorically) and we, the omniscient voyeurs, see the waves of fear coming in.

"The best she could come up with was..." another refrain.  We fall short.  Tragic.

Operatic, that's the word.  The sets seem "fake" only in the sense that all fiction is "fake" -- a forgivable (indeed encouraged) playing with our truths.  An exploratorium, this skulletarium.

The grand estate-based aristocratic lifestyle with many servants, a choreographed affair, added to the sense of "a musical" with an all-dancers cast.

The panorama of the parties is very cabaret, like Moulin Rouge. "Very Fellini" said mom, astutely, thinking of Satyricon.

The city is very Gotham.  There's even a bat mobile of sorts.

Underwater again... love seems to end this way for DiCaprio.

Slinky Debicki was the perfect glamor girl.