The Latest Gatsby

The newest film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Carey Mulligan, is a disappointment -- but a disappointment with diagnostic value. Clearly, director and co-writer Baz Luhrmann, in his film adaptation, does not pretend to offer literal fidelity to Fitzgerald's work and interprets it in an unapologetically idiosyncratic and often modern way. Nevertheless, the film's flaws are revealing. They reflect certain of our cultural failings and mistaken cultural assumptions far more than Luhrmann and his co-writer Craig Pearce perhaps intend. The damage is most evident in the portrayal of the narrator, Nick Carraway. Precisely because Fitzgerald's Nick is so admirable and so vital to the novel, the film's quite different portrayal is noteworthy. As the book begins, Nick speaks to the reader calmly and simply. We learn that he graduated from Yale, shortly thereafter fought in World War I and came east, from his native Midwest, to work in the bond...(Read Full Article)