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Before providing any form of insight on the The Great Gatsby, it would be wrong to not mention this fabled tales infamous history. To find Gatsby's first outing as the flamboyant millionaire playboy that you will soon become familiar with, we have to go back to 1925, when Scott Fitzgerald first penned a tale of love, loss and deceit- all suspended in what seems to be a time transcending bubble within New York's booming 1920's Jazz era.

Remakes are never easy- and The Great Gatsby received its fair share of scrutiny whilst it was being shot and directed by the unmissable Baz Luhrmann. This remake of a time tested epic offers what other attempts to refresh old successes have often failed to deliver- a big screen reflection of a loved story in its purest form.

Following the story of Jay Gatsby- flawlessly portrayed in his perfectly mannered debonair demeanor by the equally classy Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby is told as a narration by Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire), who moves into the small cottage next door to Gatsby's huge manor as he seeks his fortune working on the booming New York stock market.

Little does Nick know as he settles in to life surrounded by some of the city's richest citizens, that he is about to become embroiled in one of the greatest love affairs to ever be penned.

When Gatsby moved in to New York's 'new money' neighbourhood- he began to cause quite the stir. Throwing raucous parties that lasted the whole weekend at his elaborate mansion, he became the ultimate host- but no one actually knows who he is. Shrouded in mystery, rumours about his new found wealth begin to circulate.

Slowly, the plot unfolds. Once a US Army Officer, Gatsby fell in love with Daisy Buchanan (played by Carey Mulligan), who happens to be the cousin of Nick Carraway. Gatsby lost his true love after her blue blooded family forebode her to be with a penniless man- so he left, and hatched a plan.

Learning of Daisy's marriage to the steely Nick Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), a rich 'old money' type from a wealthy family, Gatsby makes his move to win her back and steal her from her cheating husband.

Class separation at the time is rife, and Gatsby moves in to 'new money' territory, over the bay directly opposite Tom and Daisy's 'old money' mansion. He throws the hugely extravagant parties to try and lure Daisy to him, but after so many failings, he resorts to asking his new neighbour, Nick Carraway, to set up a meeting between his cousin and himself.

Needless to say, the two are still in love- and an affair ensues that ultimately embroils many more than just the Buchanan's, as the truth about Gatsby's new found wealth threatens to tear apart everything he has built to get Daisy back.

Portraying much more than just a story of lost and found feelings, The Great Gatsby is a tale of segregation, fear of the unknown and how one decision can alter the lives of so many people who are caught up in the same thickening plot. Sadly, the generosity and love that Gatsby displays to not just his long lost lover, but complete strangers that he ultimately befriends, is completely disregarded at the time he needs it most; reflecting the nature of the throw away wealth 1920's New York nurtured.

Visually stunning, The Great Gatsby is a classic tale told in a modern way. Juxtaposing everything that was and everything that is, the soundtrack alone eiptomises this films ability to transcend generations.

Spanning the entire sky line of 1920's New York, Jay-Z and Kanye West blare out, adding to the almost trippy and dazzling scenes that transport you to a completely different time.

Where as the huge host of the cast portray their roles effortless- from DiCaprio's stylish role and impeccable reciting of Gatsby's trademark "Old sport" remark, to Edgerton's hard fought deliverance of Tom Buchanan's righteous opinions, the only failing of The Great Gatsby comes from Toby Maguire's often lost attempts to become Nicky Carraway. Shy and coy, you may well often find him seeming annoyingly perplexed at how to handle such a key role.

Gladly however, The Great Gatsby's one downfall doesn't take anything away from this epic big screen adventure. From slick suiting, to 1920's opulence and even the soundtrack its self- The Great Gatsby will captivate and deliver, time and time again.

9 out of 10

(9.5 if you don't count Toby Maguire).

Ryan J Gray

 

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