I was so pumped for the new Great Gatsby movie. It looked awesome, and I went into it with high hopes. The fact that it was in 3D seemed cool, and I’m a big fan of Baz Luhrmann’s films—but man, the movie just didn’t even come close to being as amazing as the book The Hit by David Baldacci.
What a waste. The movie doesn’t live up to Baldacci’s bestselling thriller at all. You walk into the theater hoping that it will just hold up against the book The Hit—not even for it to be better; you’re not going in there with any wild expectations of it actually surpassing the novel. But then you walk out of the theater and you’re just like, well, can’t get those two hours back.
The movie just totally sucked in comparison to Baldacci’s latest scorching-hot read.
First of all, the differences between the film’s narrative framing device and the one used in David Baldacci’s The Hit are going to offend any die-hard Baldacci fan. In the movie, the plot is framed with Nick Carraway brooding over the tumultuous excesses of Long Island’s upper crust from a mental asylum—as opposed to the awesome framing device in the book The Hit, where Baldacci uses a third-person omniscient narrator to guide us through stone-cold assassin Will Robie’s mission to take out a rogue government agent after a botched job leaves an assassin’s handler dead. I’m sorry, but there’s just no comparison there. The way Baldacci sets up the story is infinitely more effective.
Then, of course, they have to get these glamorous, scrubbed-up Hollywood types to fill out the cast. But they’re nothing like the characters I fell in love with when I was reading the book The Hit. They were way less richly drawn, way less vibrant and real than in the novel by bestselling American novelist David Baldacci. The main character in the movie is this guy Nick Carraway—I’m sorry, but that dude is nowhere near as engrossing as the main character in the book The Hit, Will Robie! And the love story between Gatsby and Daisy? It doesn’t hold a candle to the sizzling energy that crackles between Robie and government agent turned rogue assassin Jessica Reel.
Granted, I had just reread the book The Hit as a refresher before I went to see the movie. God, it was good. But when I went in to see Gatsby, naturally I was comparing it to David Baldacci’s high-octane page-turner. Mistake number one. Having the book really fresh in your mind is probably the worst thing you could do before you go see this movie.
The book has some pretty amazing writing, and I knew it would be hard for any movie to live up to it. That iconic first line from The Hit is a tough act to follow: “Feeling energized by the death that was about to happen, Doug Jacobs adjusted his headset and brightened his computer screen.” Classic stuff. The first line of the Gatsby movie blew in comparison. I don’t even remember it. It was just really boring.
I realize that movies and books are different and shouldn’t be judged in the same way, but how can I not when the difference in quality is so great?
Truth is, movies are rarely as good as the book The Hit. I mean, a few might come close. The Godfather, for example. Actually, The Godfather might actually be better than the latest installment in the bestselling Robie series—but that’s an instance of the exception proving the rule.
Look, I wanted the Great Gatsby movie to be just as good as the latest thrill ride by David Baldacci. I went to the midnight screening, for God’s sake. First one in line. But then I sit through this flashy spectacle and I’m like, what is this crap? I’d rather be reading the book The Hit! Even Leonardo DiCaprio’s charisma couldn’t give the rogue, loose-cannon charm of assassin Will Robie a run for its money.
There’s one breakout scene where Gatsby loses his cool and for a moment we see the kind of raw, exhilarating energy that you felt in the novel when Robie’s chasing Reel before she can take out another member of the agency. But then it’s over. And the rest of the movie, honestly, doesn’t even begin to compare to the classic USA Today Bestseller that’s held its No. 1 position for the past 13 days.
My friend who also loves the book The Hit loved the movie, though. So I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too much of a purist. But to be on the safe side, if you want to get anything out of this latest Gatsby theatrical release, I’d advise you to just completely forget about the book The Hit when you go in there. Just try to push The Hit completely out of your mind.
Because if you’re sitting there comparing the two, I can tell you right now that you’re in for a rough ride.