Thursday, 23 May 2013
Gatsby at the Electric
We were along at the Electric Cinema to see the new Gatsby movie. It's the right type of place for this viewing experience, with its opulent revamped interior. There's little lit tables between the armchair seats as well as a choice of sofas and beds, all with snuggly cashmere blankets in the adjacent foot tools.
Before last year's fire, which wiped out the adjacent brasserie and damaged the cinema, the beds were at the back.
Now they've been moved to the front, which I suppose optimises the view of the screen.
Our drinks were served in those fancy looking cocktail glasses too, which seemed fitting, given the nature of Baz Luhrmann's movie.
He sure knows how to throw a party and the ones in The Great Gatsby were somehow cranked right up to 12.
I felt the film divided into two main types of scene. There were the spectacular parties, swooping views of Manhattan and Long Island, and dramatic cars speeding along forming one half. Offsetting this were scenes set in smaller rooms, played very much like stage pieces. The storyline moved along in these closer segments, some of which were also done with a graceful humour.
There were also hat tips to other movies, including an inevitable Titanic moment with di Caprio.
I think most people know the Gatsby story. I wondered whether this production would tinker with the main story points, but it mainly followed the original plot.
Some of the action scenes were so vibrant and heavily cut that the acting took a second seat to other production values, which veered from hold the seat spectacular to downright cheesy. Then, occasionally, there was a scene where a more naturalistic acting could take place. I quite enjoyed these gentler and more realistic interludes which seemed to serve the exposition of the plot.
Despite car chase movies beating Gatsby in the UK ratings, there's a noticeable Gatsby vibe in some parts of London at the moment.
Bookstores are full of related novels and picture books. There's new ranges of Gatsby influenced fashion on tube adverts and on the back pages of magazines and papers.
F Scott Fitzgerald wrote this story of decadence, obsession, passion, corruption, infidelity and an inevitability.
And Luhrmann's movie uses the author's rich text floating over the last scenes. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
I'm going to re-read the novel next. I have a feeling that I'll keep the idea of the movie and the novel as two separate ways to tell a similar story.