Film Review of Romeo & Juliet (1996) Directed by Baz Lurhmann

Essay by mross12A-, October 2007

download word file, 2 pages 3.0 2 reviews

With Romeo & Juliet, director Baz Luhrmann has attempted to create a fresh, new and modern take on a dated classic. He achieves this very well – even managing to use the original script – and captures a younger audience than would previously have been expected to take to a Shakespeare adaptation. With the use of a modern setting in a fictional Los Angeles-styled city and fast, modern camera techniques Luhrmann does a great job of keeping the overall momentum of the film at a fast pace throughout. Fast cars with roaring engines replace horses. Guns stand in for swords and daggers. This is a side of Shakespeare never seen before.

That being said, this rare style of extremely fast-paced and “jumpy” cinematography does periodically backfire throughout the film, with the result being understandable confusion between the movie and a rock video. This does become irritating at first, and takes a while to get used to.

With these splashes of colour and fleeting shots comes, in my opinion, a loss of Shakespearian influence and the romance seems slightly suffocated. In fact, the only time this tirade of camera angles and gaudy colours slows to a standstill is when Romeo and Juliet first come-face-to-face, as they spy each other through an aquarium, and the camera pans slowly while a love song plays softly in the background.

Romeo and Juliet tells the tale of two "star-cross'd" teenage lovers who secretly fall for each other and marry. Their families, the Montagues and Capulets, have been fierce enemies for decades, and, even as Romeo and Juliet say their wedding vows, new violence breaks out between the clans. In the end, their love is doomed. When Romeo mistakenly believes Juliet is dead, he poisons himself. And, when Juliet discovers that he is dead, she too...