This is not based on a true story; this is a true story. The film introduces us to the legendary Gatsby Randolph through interviews by William Geoffrey, host of the TV show Lifestyles of the Elite & Famous. William is invited into Gatsby’s stunning home not only to meet the man himself but also to hear some fascinating details from Gatsby’s past and discuss how he came to be so well known. We gain a brief insight into Gatsby’s world today, including his wealthy lifestyle and the fame he has received. Successful and popular, Gatsby once received an Oscar and has had the honour of interacting with many celebrities, including Beyonce, Diddy, Kanye West, Steven Spielberg, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Fergie, Steve Harvey, Reese Witherspoon, Quentin Tarantino, Kate Beckinsale, Mahershala Ali and the list goes on! But the one question indeed remains: who is Gatsby Randolph? And how did he become such an incredible Hollywood superstar?
Thanks to this documentary, we learn a lot about this man, starting with his actual name, Kobie K. Randolph. A man with enormous imagination, passion, and desires for Hollywood, Kobie created Gatsby as an alter ego. When he first visited Hollywood, Kobie quickly decided that he was destined for great things; however, it took him time to get there. Through this documentary, we learn about his life as a DJ and how this was not his future, eventually making it back to Hollywood with hopes of a new lifestyle.
Despite his passion and determination for change and fame, he had little to his name after his recent business deal fell apart. With only $1000 in his pocket, Gatsby was not deterred at being on the bottom in Hollywood. He created his own PR Company to show others that he had some representation creatively connecting with rich people and celebrities. He also sneakily found ways to attend exclusive events filled with many well-known and famous people.
As a documentary, I found the journey of this one man rather interesting. Going from nothing in Hollywood into someone famous is fascinating. As a human being, Gatsby has positive elements such as determination and passion, but he also has characteristics that make him not overly likeable. Some of these include his claims to be a religious man despite him taking joy in telling multiple lies to get into significant events or setting up fake companies with the hopes to impress others. The film doesn’t show any consequences for any of Gatsby actions or attempts to get into Hollywood, which tells the audience that everything went to plan without any problems (doubtful). The film only shares his successes without the bad and the ugly. The music throughout the film is also fundamental and somewhat repetitive.
The pacing of the documentary and the information provided is also filled with some good and some bad. I truly enjoyed hearing about parts of his story. Other elements can feel rather vague or even though important information has been skipped over to get to the outcome. There were many moments in Gatsby’s story where I questioned myself, thinking, “hang on, how did we get here or how did that happen”? It is almost as if this documentary is only wanting to reveal major highlights from Gatsby’s life. It should also be noted that interviews are generally from Gatsby’s friends and family. I think it would have been much more compelling if we had the opportunity to hear stories and thoughts from well-known famous people.
Overall, this is a fascinating documentary about how one man started with very little and became a major celebrity in Hollywood thanks to his desires, passion, smarts, and sneakiness. While I generally enjoyed this story because it is an incredible journey, the movie audience may find that Gatsby as a human is not overly likeable due to how he got to the top. The style of this documentary is fine for the most part, but I couldn’t help feeling it skipped over crucial details and, for the most part, only shows interviews from his closest friends and family. Personally, this story would be far better if it were turned into a motion picture film with Tracy Morgan playing the lead, just saying.
Who is Gatsby Randolph (2019) is Now Available in Selected Australian Cinemas!