“Romeo + Juliet” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

28 January, 2017

Year of Release: 1996
Baz Luhrmann
Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Director of Photography:
Donald McAlpine
Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes

Synopsis: A modern rendition of William Shakespeare’s classic romance, Romeo + Juliet tells the story of two star-crossed lovers born into opposing households that’ll do anything to tear them apart.

Romeo + Juliet Review:

A film that goes out of its way to keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet” is a highly stylised rendition of a story passed down the generations. While undoubtedly poetic and timeless in all its significance, the work of Shakespeare can often fall flat if adapted badly and Luhrmann’s embracing of theatre’s natural affinity for gaudiness steers the play in marvellous directions as he staples colour and vibrancy onto his scenes with the immediacy of a jackrabbit.

Luhrmann gives a worn-out text the kiss of life as his unique interpretation turns a classic tale of tragic romance into pure cinema. We already know the story; born with the blood of two opposing families running through their veins, the young Romeo and Juliet experience love at first sight only to realise that their romance will never be accepted by those around them. It’s in the movie’s contemporary leanings that we find something different; electricity, firearms, dollar bills, inept postal services. Even Radiohead are given a chance to articulate the inner pain of the conflicted Romeo as a baby-faced DiCaprio gives the performance of his career twenty years before he claims his first Academy Award.

DiCaprio is the shining source of talent in an adaptation predicated on superficiality and he’s a fireball of energy as well as a hopeless puppy-eyed romantic during every millisecond of time spent with his beloved. Both leads are the embodiment of youth and beauty, their faces barely ripe as their lips lock like yin and yang captured in a picture-perfect embrace. It’s in these moments of extreme attraction that Romeo and Juliet experience complete bliss in Luhrmann’s eyes and it’s impossible not to wish them well in a story that can never, and will never, have a happy ending.


Review Date
Romeo + Juliet