The Great Gatsby

After reading the book for my A Level English Literature class, we then watched the 2013 film version of ‘The Great Gatsby’ starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. After watching the film, I find it strange how my opinions of the characters in the book are different to the film adaptation.

Throughout the book, my opinions changed on the characters constantly. At first I really liked Gatsby and Nick but, after finishing it, I decided I didn’t like any of the characters. I thought they were entirely materialistic, reckless and horrible people. However, when I was watching the film, the only character I seemed to like was Jay Gatsby. Opposed to the book, whilst watching the film I actually felt like Gatsby loved Daisy and she loved him. It’s quite clever how your opinions change by viewing it differently.

The thing which was very different and unique about this film is the visual side to it. Baz Luhrmann, the director, made the setting look like utopia (apart from the setting of “the valley of ashes”) – I loved the set design, I could just watch it again for that. Another part of the film which I thought was really unique was the soundtrack. Typical twenties’ music would be jazz but, Luhrmann decided to go with modern hip hop for the soundtrack. Although it sounds weird and unusual, it fitted the scenes quite well and since then, I have actually downloaded the film’s soundtrack.

The characters were portrayed in an incredible way. Obviously, the actors would have read the book before filming this so, it’s quite interesting to think about what their opinions of the characters they are playing would be.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film and for anyone who has read the book, I would definitely recommend for you to watch the film. However, if you haven’t read the book yet, I think you should read the book first then watch this – your opinions might be influenced by the film before reading the book.

Here is the trailer:

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What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

One of the first films Leonardo Dicaprio did was: ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’. A 1993 drama film starring a very young Dicaprio and a young Johnny Depp. This film landed Dicaprio his first Academy Award nomination and propelled him even more into his (soon to be at the time) amazing and successful career. In this wonderful storyline, Dicaprio plays a mentally impaired teenager who, if I was an actor, I would be terrified of playing. This character obviously would have had to have been executed very well in order for it to look realistic and not insulting if what was done badly. From what I understand, even at such a young age Dicaprio did a lot of research to play this role; he actually went and spent time with kids who has disabilities to make sure he played the character as accurately as possible. After hearing about the research he did, I had a feeling he was going to be really good in this film.

This is a drama film however, it did have some very heart lighted and uplifting moments in it. My favourite character was Arnie, due to the fact that he was such a sweet boy and he honestly was a representation of “be grateful of everything that you have” because, he was so pleased with how his life was going even though it wasn’t the best life anyone could have. Johnny Depp was also very good in this film. In Depp’s most recent films, the characters are very outgoing and not unrealistic but, not a character you would usually meet in the streets. It was nice to see him play a character who was dealing with a difficult life and he played it in such a raw way.

Like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, I really enjoyed Leonardo Dicaprio’s performance in this and even at such a young age, he played this character so realistically. I would recommend this film to anybody (especially if you are looking for a light hearted but also, raw film).

The trailer

Some interesting videos about the film

Revolutionary Road

Another film I watched starring Leonardo Dicaprio was the 2008, romantic-drama film: ‘Revolutionary Road’. It stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio – a young couple in the 1950’s who are coming to terms with their personal problems whilst at the same time, raising their two children. The film was directed by Sam Mendes who was Winslet’s husband at the time. This is the second on screen collaboration between Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio since they both starred in the infamous ‘Titanic’ together in 1997. Since watching ‘Titanic’, I was interested to see how their relationship in this film is.

The thing which I quite like about this film is how raw it is. In this film, you’re basically watching a couple’s very VERY personal problems unfold on screen. The main setting for this film is the couple’s house so, it seems like you are a voyeur and you are watching things you sometimes shouldn’t be watching. Due to this, you watch a lot of horrific and sad moments – which lead to me crying. The film tackles with some very controversial issues like abortion, for example. The ending of the film was very surprising to me; the film is described as a romance so you have connotations of happy endings and the idea of happiness due to the love this couple have for each other. However, in reality, that isn’t the case all the time. This film really captured the reality of how romance sometimes turns out.

I think I prefer this collaboration between Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio to their relationship in ‘Titanic’. I would love to see another film with them in and I feel like this film is underrated. Everyone should watch this.

The trailer:

 

The Wolf of Wall Street

I have never really been familiar with Leonardo Dicaprio’s films and him as an actor. Even though I’m a media student, I actually hadn’t watched ‘Titanic’ until fairly recently and he is a tremendous actor. Because of this, I have decided to watch a collection of Dicaprio’s films and review them. I did some research and Dicaprio seems to do films which have a very deep and intense storyline; I couldn’t see any comedies or rom coms on his filmography which tells me that he thinks very carefully about the films that he does. From looking at a number of trailers for some of the films he has done, the characters are all completely different: from playing mentally impaired Arnie Grape to the disgusting and racist character of Calvin J. Candie in ‘Djano Unchained’, Leonardo Dicaprio has played an array of characters. Like I said, I watched a fees trailers for his films and one which I was intrigued about the most was ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ – a 2013 biographical crime comedy film directed by the critically acclaimed Martin Scorsese. The film is about Jordan Belfort – a man who cheated people out of millions of dollars. Wall Street has never had a good reputation; full of drugs, fraud and materialism. Not knowing what to expect, I sat down and watched the film.

Even though Dicaprio doesn’t tend to do comedies, this film made me laugh a lot and you can see that it has been made to make the audience laugh due to the stupidity and recklessness of these characters. The fact that this stuff actually happened blows your mind and it hasn’t been presented in an unrealistic way at all which I found very interesting. A part of this film which I really admired (and can come off as being really cheesy if its done badly) is the direct narrative from Jordan. There are parts of the film where Dicaprio’s character will directly address the audience by speaking into the camera and it makes you feel very voyeuristic since you are seeing things which you definitely shouldn’t be seeing with how graphic they are. When this film was released, it was incredibly controversial for the amount of sex, hard drug use and profanity. In fact, the “f-word” was said more than 500 times which made the fiction film with the most uses of that word in it. I can understand why people got a bit sensitive about the subjects and events which were depicted however, why make a film about Wall Street and sugar coat everything? Martin Scorsese obviously wanted to make a biographical film so, he wanted to make it completely realistic.

Margot Robbie plays Jordan’s wife Naomi and Robbie has mainly gotten the most attention from her role as Harley Quinn in ‘Suicide Squad’ however, I think her performance in this film in amazing. I feel like she is underrated in this film and so many more people need to watch her performance in this. Jonah Hill is known for many of characters in successful comedy films however, like Robbie, he is underrated in this film and his work in this film needs to be seen by many more people. I watched a couple of interviews and you can tell that he is very passionate about this project and in fact, he actually had to wear fake teeth in this film to make it as realistic as possible. By the sounds of it, he wanted to perfect this character so he would practice hours on end with the fake teeth. Leonardo Dicaprio is also interesting in this film and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this performance.

I really really liked this film and in terms of biographical films go, it’s my favourite one I’ve seen yet. In terms of Leonardo Dicaprio films, it is definitely up there.

The trailer

Interesting videos to do with the film