Stylized film version of the Shakespeare play stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the titular star-crossed lovers whose families are at war with one another in the violent, modern-day city of Verona Beach.
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Shakespeare reduced to a tin can, noisily kicked around in this frenetic and somewhat patronising attempt to 'modernise' and open up something that was perfectly timeless and straightforward as it was. Zeffirelli had his cake and ate it.
I defy you naysayers! It is the most audacious and stunningly re-contextualised Shakespeare movie adaptation. Ever. The film that got me into films - I would happily defend this Luhrmann film from hatcheting.
Like all Luhrmann stuff, overblown, painful and oddly dull, however filled with sublime art direction. His most successful BY FAR though, just kinda wish I could cut all the grating dialogue and watch a pretty music video version of it.
Much of the first act is absurd, without a doubt; but Lurhmann's visionary film has plenty of sneaky admirers and imitators for a reason. The aimlessness and monotony of this Verona's faded beaches and urban decay inform a desperation in the romance, in the juvenile behavior, in the violence; lush art-direction allows the lovers to transcend their surroundings. Also, "Talk Show Host" and that heightened finale.
The performances are mostly perfect except for Leo's and Montague with an Irish accent, as well as lines rushed to fit modern cadence, but this movie feels like an ongoing experiment where some segments work and some are only noisy. I'm not a fan of the story and this ain't no Zeffirelli, but I'll give it some props for biting into its concept and not letting go. --PolarisDiB
I am a theatre grad student who studies Shakespeare and I LOVE this film. I appreciate adaptations that take risks and fully realize bringing something classic to a new audience, with all the vivacity of Shakespeare!