Tragically Mainstream

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Spoilers will follow. But you probably read this book in high school anyway, so you should go right ahead.

First things first: Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby is really fucking different from that book you read in high school. Fitzgerald’s novel is measured, subtle, and delicately crafted. Its title is ironic. It ends with a revelation of Gatsby’s hollowness. His grandstanding, elaborate public persona is but a paper-thin sham covering pathetic dreams.

Baz Luhrman, glorious grandiose cinematic man-child that he is, has no time for boring things like “subtletly” or “irony” or “ten minutes without any intense images or sound.” His Jay Gatsby is unapologetically great. His film preserves Gatsby’s history, but it reveals his deceptions at its midpoint rather than its end, and changes their presentation. Gatsby’s fabulations cease to be shameful marks of his hidden life, and instead become manifestations of his idealistic and incorruptible dream…

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