Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Over Memorial weekend I watched the movie, the Great Gatsby, based on a book.

In the summer of 1922, Nick Carraway, an author and WWI veteran moves from the U.S. Midwest to New York, where he takes a job as a bond salesman. He buys a cozy cabin on Long Island in the fictional village of West Egg, next door to the lavish mansion of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious business man who holds frequent and extravagant parties. Nick drives across the bay to East Egg for dinner at the home of his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, a college acquaintance of Nick’s. They introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, an attractive, cynical young golfer with whom Daisy wishes to couple Nick.

Jordan reveals to Nick that Tom has another secret lover who lives in an industrial dumping ground. (“valley of ashes”) between West Egg and New York City. Not long after this revelation, Nick travels with Tom to the valley of ashes, where they stop by a garage owned by George Wilson and his wife, Myrtle, who is Tom’s lover that Jordan mentioned. Nick goes with Tom and Myrtle to an apartment that they keep for their affair, where Myrtle throws a vulgar and bizarre party, with her sister Catherine, that ends with Tom breaking her nose as she taunts him about Daisy.

As the summer progresses, Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. Upon arriving, he learns that none of the guests at the party, though there are hundreds, have ever met Gatsby himself, or been invited cordially, and they have developed multiple theories as to who he is, such as a German spy, or a thief. Nick encounters Jordan, and they meet Gatsby, who is surprisingly young and rather aloof, in person. Gatsby begins to get to know Nick Better and the two become mutual friends. Their friendship develops after Gatsby takes Nick out to lunch with his mysterious friend Meyer Wolfshiem. Through information given to Jordan, Nick later learns that Gatsby fell in love with Daisy in 1917, and is still madly in love with her. He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock, reaching out to it, across the bay from his mansion, hoping to one day rekindle their lost romance. Gatsby’s extravagant lifestyle and wild parties are an attempt to impress Daisy in the hopes that she will one day appear at Gatsby’s doorstep at a party. Gatsby now asks Nick a favor and wants Nick to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will be there also.

After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy reconnect, and they begin an affair. Shortly after, Daisy and Tom attend one of Gatsby’s parties, where suspicion builds up in Tom about the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. During a lunch at the Buchanans’ house (with Nick and Gatsby invited), Gatsby stares at Daisy for such a long time that Tom realizes Gatsby is in love with her. Though Tom himself is involved in an extramarital affair, he is furious with both Gatsby and Daisy, but doesn’t say anything about it. He forces the group to drive into New York City for a ‘party’, where he confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom boasts that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand and never live up to, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal. This pushes Gatsby to his breaking point, and he has an explosive outburst of fury, much to his own dismay. After this incident, Daisy realizes that her allegiance is to Tom, who contemptuously sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt him.

When Nick, Jordan, and Tom drive through the valley of ashes, however, they discover that Gatsby’s car has struck and killed Myrtle, Tom’s extramarital lover. They rush back to Long Island, where Nick learns from Gatsby that Daisy, wanting to calm her nerves, had been driving the car at the time of the accident. But, Gatsby decided to take the blame, for he didn’t want to put Daisy in danger. Despite the events that occurred at the Plaza, Gatsby is convinced that Daisy will call him the next day, and waits in front of his telephone. That night, he reveals to Nick that he was born penniless, and his real name is James Gatz. In the morning, Nick leaves for work while Gatsby decides to go for a swim before his pool is drained for the season. He asks for the telephone to be brought down to the pool, still waiting for Daisy to call. The night before, Tom tells Myrtle’s husband, George, that Gatsby was the driver of the car. George jumps to the conclusion that Gatsby had also been Myrtle’s lover (because he had seen Myrtle wear a string of pearls that she couldn’t afford, and assumed that someone bought it for her), and he retrieves a gun. Back at the mansion, Gatsby hears the phone ring, and believes it to be Daisy. As he is climbing out of the pool while looking hopefully across the bay at Daisy’s mansion, he is abruptly shot and killed by George, who immediately turns the gun on himself. It is revealed that it is Nick on the phone, and he hears the two gunshots.

When Nick calls the Buchanans to invite Daisy to Gatsby’s funeral, he learns that she, Tom, and their daughter are leaving New York. Only the press, whom Nick chases out, attend the funeral. The media accuse Gatsby of being both the murderer and lover of Myrtle, leaving Nick as the only one who knows the truth. Evidently disillusioned with his fascination for the East Coast, he soon moves back to the Midwest to escape the disgust he feels for the people surrounding Gatsby’s life, as well as the moral decay and emptiness of the wealthy of the East Coast. Back in the sanatorium, Nick finishes his memoir and titles it, “The Great Gatsby”.

Now You See Me

A few days ago, I went to Palazzo 16 to see a movie called Now You see Me.

Four magicians—Daniel Atlas, Henley Reeves, Jack Wilder  and Merritt McKinney —are brought together by a mysterious card that they each received to a mysterious location. One year later, perform as a magic troupe in Las Vegas as “The Four Horsemen” sponsored by Arthur Tressler , an insurance magnate. During one of their performances, the Four Horsemen invite a member of the audience to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. A Frenchman is chosen to rob a bank of his choice, and he chooses one in France. He is teleported to that bank 10 minutes before opening time. Then, the Frenchman teleports (assisted by the Four Horseman through an earpiece) 30 million Euros through an air duct, and then it is blown out onto the Las Vegas stage in front of the crowd.

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with French Agent Alma Vargas. They question the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation for the theft can be found other than genuine magic. Rhodes then meets Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks. Bradley was in the audience and deduced that the Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience into believing it happened in real time.

Rhodes, Vargas and Bradley attend the Four Horsemen’s next performance in New Orleans. The Four Horsemen’s finale involves them emptying Tressler’s bank account and adding generous amounts of it to the audience’s bank accounts, which is mostly made up of people whose insurance claims had been denied by Tressler’s insurance. Rhodes attempts to arrest them, but they escape with help from people in the audience that they hypnotized. (Merrit McKinney hypnotized a group of audience members into thinking they were football players, and whomever says ‘Freeze’ is the quarterback, whom they must tackle. When Agent Rhodes tries to arrest them, he yells, “Freeze!” and the hypnotized audience members tackle him.) Tressler is so infuriated, that he hires Bradley to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance. Later, while researching the Four Horsemen’s background, Agent Vargas learns about rumors of a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, and suggests to Rhodes the case might be connected to a magician who was once exposed by Bradley, and was so humiliated that he attempted a dangerous underwater stunt and drowned.

Before the Four Horsemen’s last performance in New York City, Rhodes and Vargas locate the group’s hideout and catch Wilder there. He attempts to escape in a stolen car, but it crashes and explodes. Then, Rhodes and Vargas learn that the Four Horsemen are targeting a particular safe, which is under the surveillance of another FBI team, whom later takes over the case. They intercept the safe in route to Five Points, NY, but find it empty. The ability of the Four Horseman to continually outwit the FBI leads Rhodes to suspect that there must be a fifth member of the team, potentially Vargas or Bradley.

At the final performance, Rhodes and Vargas once again attempt to arrest the Four Horsemen. But Atlas, Reeves and McKinney jump from the rooftop as a finale, and seemingly transform into piles of money that rain from the sky into the cheering crowd, but it turns out the money is fake. After the performance, Bradley returns to his car, discovering it to be filled with the real money from the stolen safe. He is then arrested by the FBI and taken to prison, where Rhodes  asks what had happened that night. Bradley protests that he was framed and explains how the group performed the safe heist through use of mirrors. He hopes this will clear him of charges. But then, Bradley realizes that Rhodes is the Fifth Horseman, the mastermind of all of the schemes. Rhodes leaves Bradley in jail and reunites with the Four Horsemen, including Wilder, who faked his death. They are surprised to find out Rhodes is the benefactor that assembled them one year prior and are initiated into The Eye.

Rhodes later meets Vargas in France, and reveals that he is the son of the magician who drowned years ago. The plot was designed to obtain revenge on those involved: Bradley, for humiliating his father; the bank in Paris and Tressler’s company, which refused to pay insurance on his father’s death; and the company that produced the safe used in the trick. Due to its inferior quality of the metal in the safe it warped resulting in Rhodes’ father’s death. Rhodes was living in poverty until The Eye recruited him. He admits that he has fallen in love with Vargas, who decides not to turn him in.