Film: Romeo and Juliet
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes
Plot: Two lovers of rival, disputing families take their lives. Rating:
Reviewer: Claire Ginn
Welcome to Verona Beach, a sexy, violent other-world, neither future nor past, ruled by two rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets... So begins Baz Luhrmann's production of Shakespeare's beloved play, "Romeo and Juliet," from the famous opening line of "Two Households both alike in dignity.." to the tragic end, the viewer is whisked away into the depths' of heightened realism in the world of Verona Beach.
Casting includes Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and Juliet as well as great performances by John Leguizamo (Tybalt) and, Harold Perrineau (Mercutio). Danes brings life to the character of Juliet and reaches far beyond the subservient stereotype of most Elizabethan characters with her ambition and assertion, although she sometimes sounds like a schoolgirl reading lines aloud for a teacher. DiCaprio is not quite as polished and in some scenes you may find him off-hand and whiny, however he manages to capture the depth and thoughtfulness associated with Romeo.
Updated to modern Verona Beach (rather than Verona, Italy), this film has all the pop and zip one would expect from a tale of family feud, star-crossed lovers and bloodthirsty vengeance. It includes a mix of classical and religious imagery. Wide sweeping shots of the city show the destruction and expanse of the Capulet and Montague empires. Lots of music, fast cuts, fantastic cinematography and superb sets and costumes make it the lively tale it was meant to be. These features also make the film somewhat cartoon-like with a lot of heightened realism. Don't expect to see British people prancing around in tights when you rent this one. Luhrmann creates a world where gun-toting youths sport Hawaiian shirts and beachfront brawls are an everyday...