William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet (1996)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5

USA, 1996.  Bazmark Films, Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Baz Luhrmann, , based on the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Baz Luhrmann, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by European Film Awards 1997.  

Baz Luhrmann applies MTV music-video editing techniques to a classic play and comes out with an over-directed bore that is perked up by its few musical sequences but feels labored the rest of the time. Leonardo DiCaprio makes for a grating Romeo, while is only slightly better as a wide-eyed and unsuspecting Juliet in this tale of two young lovers thwarted by their two families being at war with each other. Transferring the setting from seventeenth-century Verona to modern-day Venice Beach, California is a deliciously wry idea, with opposing family members touting guns and other harmful weapons while spouting Shakespeare’s original dialogue. Unfortunately, Luhrmann makes everything go so annoyingly fast and keeps everything so ridiculously loud that any powerful moments are lost in the noise: fans of subtlety will definitely want to stay away.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Art Direction

Berlin Film Festival Awards:  Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio); Alfred Bauer Prize

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