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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Gatsby Screening a Quiet Success

Published: October 4, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

On Saturday night, about 30 students gathered in Schwartz auditorium to watch a special screening of “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton.

The movie follows Yale graduate and hopeful writer Nick Carraway, who moves to the West Egg neighborhood of Long Island, New York from Chicago. After giving up on his writing, Nick becomes a bond salesman on Wall Street. Nick encounters a man he knew from his days at Yale, Tom Buchanan and his wife, Daisy, who also happens to be Nick’s cousin. Nick meets his mysterious next-door neighbor, a man referred to as Gatsby, who throws lavish and wild parties.

Jordan Baker, a friend of the Buchanans, finds out from Gatsby that the parties are all a plan to lure Daisy to Gatsby’s mansion. She reveals that Gatsby and Daisy were madly in love five years ago and that Gatsby is still in love with Daisy. Nick invites Daisy to tea at his house, facilitating an awkward reunion for Gatsby and Daisy. The film follows Nick and his developing friendship with Gatsby. This parallels Gatsby and Daisy’s secret love that has prevailed over Gatsby’s five-year absence from her life, while he was building up his wealth. The film is adapted from the novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The movie quality was excellent and was shown through a projector. The audience, while quiet, seemed to enjoy the movie very much, becoming enthusiastic at key moments from the novel, such as Gatsby’s first party, the car crash or even subtler moments such as Nick’s forgotten birthday, the man with owl eyes and the eyes of T.J. Eckleberg.

The novel is famous for its portrayal of the decline of the American Dream in the 1920s. Though it revolves around Gatsby’s love for Daisy, the movie symbolizes America’s infatuation with materialism and the insatiable and interminable need for excess goods that was so prevalent during the stock market boom. Gatsby wants more and more from Daisy, so much that he eventually causes a violent scene in the movie that ultimately drives Daisy away from him. Likewise, America wants more and more luxuries, fun and prosperity.

Director Baz Luhrman does a fantastic job representing the absence of morals in America caused by the never-ending frenzy of parties, alcohol and wealth. He captures the sweltering desperation of Manhattan, which mimics Nick’s eventual desperation to escape from his unscrupulous contemporaries. The pounding bass of the rap music so prevalent in the movie, combined with sweaty dancing, flowing alcohol and raging emotions, allows the audience to experience the intoxicated stupor of many Americans in that era.

“The Great Gatsby” screening was part of the film series done by Student Events, a selection of movies for students to enjoy free of charge on Friday and Saturday nights. Upcoming movies include “Hangover 3,” “Iron Man 3,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Pitch Perfect”.