The movie production struck me as excellent and my son (who did read the book) thought it followed Fitzgerald's story very well. It was my first introduction to the story and I can see why it's a classic. It certainly has relevance being set in the 1920s when income inequality was at levels comparable to today and fueled by stock market speculations (bubbles). At the level of the elites, that speculation was gambling just as it is today. A large source of the money they used seemed to come from alcohol bootlegging (prohibition of liquor sales being the law of the land) and the story implies that. It was a time of tremendous fun for "the rich" that only lasted about a decade before the mother of all economic corrections cut the party short.
The obscene display of wealth by the wealthy at that time is a central image in the story. The movie really brings this out. Gatsby's house is a castle and the exterior scenes around it are shot from the ground looking up. Even the interior shots are filled with architectural height and immensity. This says the rich are giants among us and is further emphasized with scenes of Nick Carroway's little gatekeeper's cottage next door to Gatsby's castle (literally in its shadow). These scenes are always looking up from Carroway's cottage or looking down from Gatsby's castle. The distance between them is apparent so we have a visual representation of the gulf that Carroway and Gatsby's friendship must span. This gulf is what was most interesting to me in watching the movie.
Life at the great homes depicted was supported by an army of servants. Dressed immaculately (in keeping with house decor), they opened doors, waited tables, ferried champagne and snacks to guests, fetched and carried and generally did anything their masters didn't want to be bothered with. There were often servants just standing at attention, stiff backed, holding a tray and waiting for orders to do something. I wonder how much these servants were paid. Was their typical day to get dressed up, go take their station in Mr. Gatsby's house, and wait for him to tell them to get him a glass of water? Or stand by a door until Mr. Gatsby or a guest looked to be wanting to go through it, so they could open it? (There's a great scene where servants are tripping over each other to open doors for a group of the rich who were arguing and storming in and out of rooms).
This is an image of mice scurrying about and making their living among the feet of dinosaurs. They survive by just doing their jobs. They may believe they are working for their "betters," or maybe just doing what they must to make a living. Some even take pride in what they do. There was one scene where a worker tells Gatsby the pool needs cleaning and he'd like to do it today. The man is not concerned with Gatsby's affairs or impressed with his huge parties. He just knows how to take care of a pool and wants to do his job. Gatsby tells him to do it tomorrow.
I think this scenelet of the pool man on Mr. Gatsby's estate is an image of American workers. Our living is facilitated by environments and situations created by the affairs of the elite who don't need jobs. We are only useful widgets to them and they give no thought to us beyond the little things they need for us to do. Perhaps we understand that perspective and just do our little jobs to make our livings. Perhaps we do our jobs with pride and take satisfaction from working them for our own sakes, irrespective of what our employers think. Perhaps we inflate our jobs and positions in our minds to levels of importance that make it more bearable for us. This would be the pool man imagining that Mr. Gatsby's main concern is his pool and that he couldn't conduct all his important business or maintain his wealth without a properly functioning pool, as provided by the pool man's work.
Perhaps most of us are like the deluded pool man. Perhaps a very few of us find a moment of clarity and walk off the job.