Nice Cinematography There, Old Sport

March 2021

The ending to The Great Gatsby has always felt incomplete and too try-hard. In my previous readings (and viewings), the last line always seemed to be thrown in because it sounded philosophical, but even Fitzgerald didn’t understand it. I could go along with Gatsby’s death and his lack of friends; the Buchannon’s evacuation of East Egg; and Nick’s wonderment over the allure of the green light — but beyond that, it never clicked with me.

The graphic novel, perhaps because everything else was so much faster-paced than the other mediums, actually left me feeling like there might be hope within the (colossal) struggle — that was the feeling I was left with. We will always be held back by the baggage we bring, always tied down by what has inherently made us, us, and yet there is comfort in that, somehow, because it can be no other way.

Because the graphic novel could precisely point out whatever it wanted with each line (rather than being inundated with frame after frame like with the films, or focusing on the finish line as it is is with the original) the novel was able to slow down what the reader is thinking about. There’s not the same implication imprinted onto the reader as there is from the 2013 film (“Ooh, look at Gatsby’s hand,” “nice cinematography”), nor is there the, “I’m almost done” dash with the novel. It made it more impactful than the traditional formats of The Great Gatsby, even if I didn’t enjoy this particular art as much.

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