Romeo and Juliet Film Review
Probably the worlds most famous love story has been retold in 1997 under the watchful hand of Baz Luhrman (Also directed Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom) who is trying to give this old Shakespeare classic, a more modern touch.
Baz Luhrman simply takes the tragedy from the past, and drops it into the 21st century. In this strange new setting, the swords are tossed aside for guns but the old language, remains. Also the film is refreshed by young popular actors such as Leonardo di Caprio. This creates a bizarre mix, where the audience is left to think whether this is still the same old tragedy or something completely different.
The actors mostly play their parts very well, but I think that Pete Postlethwaite (Friar Lawrence) who was also seen in In the Name of the Father and Miriam Margolyes (Nurse) were outstanding at portraying their characters and the best actors on the set. On the other hand I found the performance by the main figures Leonardo Di Caprio(Romeo) and Claire Danes (Juliet) appauling and it kind of felt like they knew their lines, but had no idea what they were actually talking about. An example of this is how Romeo sometimes says his words without expression or with expression in the wrong place. I think that these roles should have been taken over by more experienced actors, who have played Shakespeare plays before but Leonardo Di Caprio will probably be a reason for many teenagers to see this film so the reason why he was cast is probably because he will attract a bigger young audience
There are not many special effects in this film, but definitely many more than in other versions of the story. I think that the camera was one of the major participants in this film as Luhrman did so many different types of shots and scenes that it just makes this film much more viewable. Examples of this are at the very beginning of the film, there are about 30 different shots right after one another which creates a very fast pace. Other examples include long shots of Verona which are shown very often all through the film, where you can see two big buildings, one with a Montague sign and the other one with a Capulet and a twirl of the camera as transitions between scenes.
As always in love stories or tragedies, music is also a major helper in this film. A slow, romantic song is played when Romeo and Juliet first meet and funky loud music when Romeo and his friends enter the ball.
What Luhrman mainly tries to do with this film, is to make the story more interesting and more appealing to a younger audience, which has decided to try and achieve this with more action packed scenes and fighting. This does though sometimes make the film seem unrealistic, childish even, like a teenagers version of the tragedy.
This is for sure the most modern and action filled version of the play and I think it can be described as something fresh and new and completely different. This film is a great way of getting a younger generation of people interested in Shakespeare, as it included lots of action and fighting but I am not sure if this film is really a better version of Romeo and Juliet. Although it may not be as interesting and action packed, I think I still prefer the old boring classic Shakespeare tragedy.