Sometimes the reviewers get it wrong. That’s what happened with “The Great Gatsby.” And that’s why I didn’t go out and see the film sooner. It’s picking up only 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. “Metacritic” gives it a “metascore” of only 54. Generally, I’m wary of anything under 70. So in my mind, “Gatsby” had to be a huge flop. Half the reviewers at “Tomatoes” thought so. All glitz, with misplaced hip-hop music and the usual mix of overbearing special effects that crush a story line. Even a tale told by F. Scott Fitzgerald, that has sustained the travails of time. So many critics dissed this film that it had to be bad.
So why did I go see it? Because I found myself with a couple of hours to kill on a Wednesday afternoon. I had already seen the two or three films that aren’t targeted exclusively at teenage boys or children, so I was out of options. Except for….Gatsby. Which, according to the critics, was a stinker. Not worthy of being associated with the great Scott Fitzgerald.
The one guy selling tickets behind the bank of registers was all alone. It was, after all, Wednesday afternoon. He was also closer to my age than most of the young people working at the Archlight , so I asked. “Have you seen Gatsby?,” I said. He said he had and that he liked it a lot. So did his wife, he told me. However, their teenage daughter didn’t much care for it, probably, he said, because the film is a period piece (It takes place in the 1920’s). Now I was interested. It had glitz, hip-hop and was souped up with special effects and still this guy, who appeared to be in his late 40’s or early 50’s, liked it? So I bought a ticket for a non-3D showing. That was fine with me, since I hate 3D.
I loved the movie. Yes, it has a lot of glitz. Yes, there are special effects. And yes, there is a tiny bit of hip-hop woven into the soundtrack, but all of it contributes to the fabric of the film and Scott Fitzgerald’s wonderfully timeless story of the mysterious and extraordinarily wealthy, Jay Gatsby.
Forget about the critics and go see this film before they pull it from the theaters. The acting and production values are wonderful. It deserves to be seen on a big screen with a proper sound system. “The Great Gatsby” is terribly underrated. This is one helluva movie.