Go

Romeo+Juliet

Year: 1996
Production Co: Bazmark Films
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writer: Baz Luhrmann/William Shakespeare/Craig Pearce
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Brian Dennehy, Paul Rudd, Jamie Kennedy, Dash Mihook
It wasn't quite the comparatively straight (albeit glitzy) visual approach of Strictly Ballroom but it didn't quite have the crystal meth-addled, dreamlike swooping through scenes of Moulin Rouge! either.

What it did however was make The Bard cool, and one wonders what he'd think centuries later of being presented with teen idols in moving pictures with no stage to constrain his most enduring tragedy.

Luhrmann opted for the best of all possible styles – modern (but very stylised) sets, costumes and backdrops with the original text to give the movie literary heft that would be far beyond its reach otherwise.

Before Titanic, DiCaprio was the prettiest pin-up boy in the world who made us wonder if he could act, and he gets through Romeo+Juliet with dignity intact as much from the dark-eyed, brooding slo-mo and costumes as he does his performance.

Modelling Verona on Venice Beach, the Capulets and Montagues are recast as feuding business empires, and when a Montague boy and Capulet girl fall in love over a Cardigans-backed aquarium, sparks are destined to fly for history's most famous star cross'd lovers.

As legions of high school students know, the story is about the cruel vagaries of fate as much as it is of love (which, as Shakespeare realised, is none other than just another kind of fate), but it's almost as if he realised six hundred years ago how endlessly appealing his story would be. Who wouldn't want to see the story of two young, beautiful people falling in love and sparking an epic turf war of retribution to be together.

Notable now we look back on it – despite the fact that almost everyone carries a gun – is how little gun violence we see on screen.

© 2011-2018 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au