Film: William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

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Film:

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Honors:
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Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom) takes a shot at reinventing Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers as a visual pastiche inspired by MTV imagery, Hong Kong action-picture clichés, and Luhrmann’s own taste for deliberate, gaudy excess. The result is explosive chaos, both in terms of bullets and visual sensibility, which some may find impossible to stick with for more than a few minutes. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the leads, though not with much distinction, while Pete Postlethwaite makes a huge impression as this movie’s version of Friar…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom) takes a shot at reinventing Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers as a visual pastiche inspired by MTV imagery, Hong Kong action-picture clichés, and Luhrmann’s own taste for deliberate, gaudy excess. The result is explosive chaos, both in terms of bullets and visual sensibility, which some may find impossible to stick with for more than a few minutes. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the leads, though not with much distinction, while Pete Postlethwaite makes a huge impression as this movie’s version of Friar Laurence. The film is successful in spots, but overall its fever-dream game plan is difficult to ride out. —Tom Keogh

Barnes and Noble

It’s Shakespeare for the MTV generation. Director Baz Luhrman (Strictly Ballroom) brings his gaudy, overheated aesthetic to this hyperkinetic rendering of the Bard’s famous romantic tragedy—a movie that moves like an action film while keeping Shakespeare’s text intact. Updated to the present and set in an unspecified Latin city bursting with tropical colors, red-hot mamas, gun-toting skin heads, and oversized religious icons, this Romeo and Juliet was a big hit with young moviegoers. Leonardo DiCaprio’s turn here as Romeo put him on the map as a teen heartthrob, but it’s the radiant Claire Danes who carries the picture. As the child-woman Juliet, she has a gravity and heartbreaking intensity that allow her to hold the screen in the midst of fast cuts and flying bullets. Kryssa Schemmerling

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