Baz Luhrmann’s version of “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet”, who is also the director of Strictly ballroom, is a bold adaptation of the world’s famous tragedy. He offers a trendy, contemporary re-telling of the classic love story with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo and Clare Danes’ Juliet. Even though it is set in a modern day Verona, it still shows the beauty of the romance and keeps in Shakespeare’s dialogue.
Juliet is a naive, obedient girl at the beginning of the story, having not experienced true love, but by the time she’s met Romeo and her love has deepened, we see how dramatically her character has developed.
Will Romeo and Juliet ever come out with their marriage ? Well you’ll have to go and see the film ! Claire Danes was brilliantly casted by Luhrman to make a breathtaking Juliet. She flawlessly looks and acts the part whilst beautifully showing her love and passion for Romeo and captures her dramatic transition from childhood to womanhood.
Leonardo DiCaprio was almost as impressive as Romeo. Leonardo captures the intentions of his emotions amazingly. He captures Romeo’s characteristic of acting at the heat of the moment wonderfully, this unfortunate characteristic however, plays a huge role leading up to the lover’s tragic fate. Like Juliet, we see his character develop throughout the play. Romeo is acted very well by Leonardo DiCaprio even though he is a little over exaggerated. The supporting cast are very well played as well.
John Leguizamo plays an effective and amazing Tybalt, Juliet’s Latino cousin.
Lurhman makes a daring move by making Mercutio, Harold Perrineau, a high-energy drag queen he sings and dances with Shakespearean lyrics, but it comes off very humorous and effective. The film is set in ‘Verona Beach’ (Mexico City and a beach on the Pacific Coast) but works extremely well. The fact that it is set very modernly, helps the audience relate to the story and is more entertaining to a wider audience range. The audience range is to people who think Shakespeare is boring and you only see/read his plays in school but adults also would enjoy his film. The music, is also very modern and trendy, not what you would expect in a Shakespeare film. There are some key scenes that stand out and you can’t forget. For example, when we see Mercutio singing at Capulet’s party it is one of the humorous scenes in the play as is Tybalt’s entrance at the petrol station. He walks in and you instantly know he means business and you could say loves himself a little. Some of the more serious scenes stick in your mind as well.
For instance, when Romeo and Juliet first meet you instantly know that it is love at first sight from the gaze in each other’s eyes and how they react. Also, Romeo and Juliet dying. This is one of the most memorable scenes in the play as it is a dramatic, emotional scene as you see how much love is in their relationship. All in all, what Luhrman did with the film was both bold and brilliant, and he succeeded wonderfully. I highly recommend you see this film, even if you aren’t a Shakespeare fan, you will enjoy this hip modernization of Shakespeare’s most famous play ever.