This weekend sees the UK release of the eagerly awaited aggressively marketed Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
Do not see this film.
If you want to experience and come to understand a skilfully created and meaningful, if perhaps over-praised piece of art, go out tomorrow and buy a copy from a charity shop or ask a friend to lend you theirs.
It is easily possible to read the entire thing in the same amount of time it would take to go to the cinema, sit through a series of Coke Zero adverts and trailers and watch Luhrmann’s movie.
After you have read the novel, spend a while thinking about it. Maybe even go for a walk to let your thoughts sink in. Then, if you absolutely must see a cinematic version, watch the 1974 adaptation starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
It’s far from perfect and from an aesthetic point of view it hasn’t aged well, but at least you’ll see a film adaptation that makes an effort to engage with the characters and the underlying themes of the novel.
Better that, after all, than completely ignoring these things in order to show you a series of colourful and vibrant superparties soundtracked by shameless corporate floozies like Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Banana Del Rey.
When you’ve done that, and even if you haven’t, check out this comic on Kate Beaton’s magnificent ‘Hark, a vagrant’ site. It’s great.
There. You have done everything in your power to fully enjoy The Great Gatsby’s opening weekend. You have spent time in the company of the work of a master rather than that of a halfwit; you have given your hard-earned cash to Oxfam rather than major film and music studios; you had a good old LOL at some quotable internet satire.