the fresh films reviews

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Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Baz Luhrmann
William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet



Romeo og Julie

121 minutes

Baz Luhrmann
Gabriella Martinelli
Baz Luhrmann
Craig Pearce

Cast includes:

Romeo Leonardo DiCaprio
Juliet Claire Danes
Tybalt Capulet John Leguizamo
Benvolia Montague Dash Mihok
Father Laurence Pete Postlethwaite
Fulgencio Capulet Paul Sorvino
Mercutio Escalus Harold Perrineau
Ted Montague Brian Dennehy -
Caroline Montague Christina Pickles -
Apothecary M. Emmet Walsh -
Rich Ranchidis Michael Corbett -
Balthasar Montague Jesse Bradford -
Gloria Capulet Diane Verona
The Nurse Miriam Margolyes
Dave Paris Paul Rudd



Here comes one of the best films of the year, created by the Australian writer/director Baz Luhrmann. His first feature, Strictly Ballroom from 1992, was hailed by critics and film awards around the globe (notably BAFTA and Cannes). For his follow-up, Luhrmann has taken William Shakespeare's immortal play "Romeo and Juliet" and made it into a tour de force of modern, stylistic movie-making. The concept is a contemporary setting and MTV style shots and cuts combined with the play's Elizabethan language and plights. Verona in Italy is substituted for Verona Beach in California, where the families Montague and Capulet are turned into rivalling crime syndicates, and where the horses and swords from the play are replaced with fancy cars and guns. It's an audacious endeavour by Luhrmann, perhaps one that many sceptics will be hesitant to play along with, but the confidence and smartness with which it's all devised and carried out gives the film an irresistible appeal. And perhaps the film will also be able to bridge the gap between classicists and the younger generation. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are perfectly cast as the two young lovers. As the film morphs elegantly from modern crime saga to classical romance, DiCaprio and Danes demonstrate their apt combo of sexy, youthful desperation on the one side, and a delicateness on the other which gives them the necessary historical rooting. DiCaprio's powerful, complete performance establishes him as arguably the greatest acting talent of his generation. With several old-timers in delightful supporting roles, most notably Pete Postlethwaite as Father Laurence.

Copyright 1.4.1997 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
(English version: 05.04.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang)