on May 19, 2012
I first heard about this film some months back, entirely by accident. The more I read about it, the more curious I became about this new presentation of my favorite play. I know that the subject might put some people off, but please don't let it. This Private Romeo is truly "private:" here are two boys taking a great risk in daring to love each other in an unfriendly and often hostile environment. Oh yeah, and they are playing out the greatest romance ever written.
Alan Brown managed to find eight of the most talented young men around and together created a masterpiece. Some of the characters have to double up on roles, but it was so seamlessly done. The two lovers played by Seth Numrich (Sam/Romeo) and Matt Doyle (Glenn/Juliet) were two of the finest performers I have ever seen. Numrich is a convincing and endearing Romeo, with all the tender innocence and bewilderment, and Doyle is an outstanding Juliet, pure sweetness and strength. They have such chemistry together that I found myself unable to stop smiling, or hold back the tears. Hale Appleman (Josh) is a memorable Mercutio/Lord Capulet, at once terrifying, and riveting. He seems to be on the brink of madness at times. Sean Hudock (Gus) was a fantastic Benvolio/Lady Capulet, trying to understand his friend's decision to pursue Juliet, and then turn around and convince Juliet to marry Paris. I could go on and on about the other players, but you need to find out for yourselves. But trust me, this is a dream cast!
The setting in the nearly empty academy was, to me, like a blank canvas, or an empty stage. Anything is possible. This film is beautifully shot, from the trees on down to gentle caresses. The language was updated at times, going from the traditional Shakespearean words to modern terms. And that some of the boys were called "my lady," or "mother" was not distracting at all and took nothing away from the poetry. The soundtrack, while very simple, was exquisite and fitting. There are some great songs in here by Bishop Allen, and, at the end, Matt Doyle treats us to his radiant voice.
The ending was something that I have not often seen before in an interpretation of R and J. It was different, yet special. And like the rest of the movie, IT WORKS! I cannot wait to add this film to my collection next month.
on June 3, 2012
If you enjoy Shakespeare, beautiful men, great acting, and interesting interpretations, of something that has been interpreted almost as many times at the bible, then watch this movie. Someone finally went and did it. What would happen if Romeo and Juliet lived? We still don't know because the film ends right after we learn that they live, but that's okay. I truly enjoyed this film. The writing, most of it Shakespeare, is classic and flawless. The acting, surprisingly mature and moving. The cast, beautiful. The direction, while I don't enjoy the "abrigedness" of Shakespeare's work, I think I understand the director's choices and I applaud him for making them and think that he pulled them off.
on June 20, 2012
In the Year of Grace 1692, a certain Irish poet and "dramatist," one Nahum Tate, son of a Puritan clergyman, was appointed Poet Laureate of England by their Britannic Majesties King William III and Queen Mary II. If he is remembered at all today, it is as the author of the Christmas Carol "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks," and as the librettist for the very first English opera, Henry Purcell's Dido & Aeneas. ("Thus on the fatal banks of Nile/Weeps the deceitful Crocodile" is what Tate has Dido deathlessly utter when Aeneas tells her he's ditching her. Wonderful stuff!)
Alexander Pope nominated Tate one of the three High Priests of the goddess Dulness in his hilarious Dunciad (love Pope!) ". . . pensive poets painful vigils keep/Sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep." Wicked. But . . . apt: One of Tate's Great Works was a translation into English heroic couplets of a gem from the Latin original of "Syphilis or the French Disease. . . ."
Okay. All very amusing. But what, pray, does it have to do with Private Romeo, an American indie film copyrighted 2012 and released just this month to DVD?
Well, because, for a time, Tate had a certain fleeting fame in London for "improving" Shakespeare. He re-worked King Lear - as a musical, mind you - leaving the Fool out altogether and with, at the end, Lear and Kent bosom buddies, and Cordelia riding off into the sunset with Edgar. He also "fixed" Coriolanus. But perhaps most famously, or infamously as the case might be, he re-wrote Romeo & Juliet so that it had a happy ending!
And for these literary sins, the guy's been getting guff for over three hundred years - and never mind that such opprobrium is just a tad anachronistic: Eng. Lit. had yet to be invented, and the reverential groveling at the feet of the Holy Bard of Stratford to which we are so accustomed lay very much in the future; even Dr. Johnson lent moderate approval to Tate's "sensibilities." And why not? Times and sensibilities do change. And moral and cultural imperatives, as well: One rather doubts that Tate, of Puritan stock after all, would haave been delighted with a gay take on the play.
I saw a trailer for this film six months ago and though I don't usually pay all that much attention to trailers, I went immediately to try to rent this one - only to find it wasn't to be released till June 5th. Whereupon I decided to pre-order it sight unseen. And for no other reason than the use of all that wonderful and much beloved language in such an unexpected way.
Well. Okay. And the seriously gorgeous young men in it.
I shall, very likely, be sending my copy off to a friend of mine in Seattle who is, in point of fact, currently engaged in designing a new production of the play. Because, after having watched Private Romeo at least half a dozen times now, I personally believe that every would-be producer, director, designer, or even actor of Romeo & Juliet should be made, under threat of caning, to watch this film. And take notes!
Because it is high bloody time that people started to avail themselves of all the glorious material of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, and all those wonderful Jacobean rantings of the early 17th century, and bring it all to new and vibrant life in the way Alan Brown and his company of superb young mummers have done almost unbelievably well here.
First of all, this film is a particularly stellar example of a new and quite extraordinary phenomenon in film, which, so far, I've seen only in Indies, which do tend to "get it" long before the Hollywood machine: And that is a strange and rather haunting kind of hybrid between stage play and film - usually two altogether different species of animal like horses and donkeys. Only in recent offerings - e.g., Lilies, Just Say Love, Were the World Mine - or Private Romeo - we wind up not with sterile mules, but vigorous and potent Derby winners. And for sheer originality alone - and chutzpah - Private Romeo has to go to the top like the cream that rises in fresh milk.
A quick synopsis, although what happens is by now I should think fairly well known; it is NOT actually Romeo & Juliet, but it does track it very closely indeed: Eight young men, students at a military school, are for utterly irrelevant reasons left alone on campus where their class work consists of reading Romeo & Juliet aloud in class - which they do with all of the hestiancy, banter, and horsing about you'd expect of a clutch of high school seniors. But then Sam/Romeo (Seth Numrich) and Glenn/Juliet (Matt Doyle) - who are "playing" those parts in class - are patently taken with each other and presently Sam/Romeo has no more doubt but that he's in love with Glenn/Juliet, though Glenn has clearly recognized his own attraction to Sam long before. And while there have already been discreet bits of Shakespeare's lines, it is as night falls and Gus/Benvolio, Josh/Mercutio and Sam/Romeo are in the hall on their way to the ball/poker game in the school mess hall that the ordinary life of teenagers opens out, so to speak, starting with Appleman's Queen Mab speech (of which more anon). It's almost as if the intensity of these boys' feelings is such that only the language they're being saturated with in class can express those feelings, and there's no more hesitancy as in class but those boys make those Shakespearean lines their own and as natural sounding as if they were in their native language.
The script does do a more or less faithful recapitulation of Shakespeare's play though of course much modified and edited. But, God bless the mark, Brown refused to countenance a change in pronouns: He remains he for Romeo and she remains she for Juliet. The other students play the other parts - Josh/Mercutio (Hale Appleman), Gus/Benvolio (Sean Hudock), Carlos/Tybalt (Bobby Moreno), with Appleman and Hudock doubling as Capulet and Lady Capulet respectively. Omar/Juliet's nurse (Chris Bresky) is particularly noteworthy; I expect to see a lot more of him in the future.
But of course the intense relationship that quickly develops between Romeo and Juliet (Sam and Glenn) is the real stuff of the film. And every time Sam/Romeo kisses Glenn/Juliet, this really beautiful bashful smile lights up Glenn's face. In fact, the director says that, every time Seth kissed Matt, Matt's nose turned bright red and they had to dampen it a bit in post! Now how neat is that! In fact, those two have such chemistry, I would have to say their interactions are among the most riveting love scenes between two men I've ever seen: There are other great and powerful moments between two men in other films of course: The Boathouse Scene with James Wilby and Rupert Graves at the end of Maurice; when Scott Neal pushes Glenn Berry up against a tree in the park of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and "snogs the golly off him" in Beautiful Thing; or Brendan Bradley throws caution to the wind and finally just grabs hold of Matthew Montgomery in Redwoods; or the sleepwalking scene in Back Soon between Windham Beacham and, again, Matthew Montgomery. But to have scene after scene with Sam and Glenn making love with that testosterone-driven hunger of teenage boys is something else altogether, an intensity that perhaps could only be articulated by those glorious words.
None of the eight young men in this film had any film experience being trained stage actors (from some pretty damned prestigious drama schools, too, Julliard, Carnegie-Mellon, e.g.) and Alan Brown candidly (and repeatedly) points out he himself has no theatrical experience whatever, much less Shakespearean experience. The result: An unusually rich collaborative effort.
As Indies always are, this film was made on a shoestring with apparently near insurmountable obstacles about locations and such adding to the difficulties. But necessity truly can be the mother of invention and Brown had the sense to allow these extraordinarily talented and clearly well-trained young men just to do their thing in scripted improvs, as it were, in "rehearsals," all of which were followed and filmed by a hand-held camera, and many of which wound up being actually used in the final edit. Which is probably why there is a spontaneity throughout that is amazing; the iconic moments of the play, the balcony scene, the scene where the lovers wake up after their "wedding night" ("'Tis the lark . . . Nay, 'Tis the nightingale"), the sly cunning of Adam/Friar Lawrence (Adam Barrie) (too often played as a captious, conniving and bumbling idiot), the battles between Tybalt, Mercutio, and Romeo - all have a terrifically engaging freshness.
And I absolutely love watching people's face when we get to the last scene of this movie with Glenn/Juliet/Matt Doyle. But no spoilers.
Well, maybe a minor one: In the director's commentary, Brown says the slightly mad reaction of Josh/Mercutio to Sam/Romeo's enthrallment with Glenn/Juliet is because Josh, hitherto Sam's best friend, has been effectively left behind, i.e., that it is the hurt of a best friend watching a gap widen that never existed before the advent of the new love. I don't know, and I might be wrong here, but I've taken the impression from my very first viewing that reason Josh/Mercutio's reaction to the /Sam/Romeo-Glenn/Juliet affair is so off the wall and downright nuts is because he is himself in love with Sam/Romeo but has never put the moves on him and is kind of frantic now that it's too late. When Sam/Romeo disappears after Omar/the Nurse drags Glenn/Juliet away from the ball/poker game, Josh/Mercutio goes after him, looking accusingly at Gus/Benvolio as if to say, why'd you let him go? And Gus's reaction is two little, helpless, inarticulate noises of protest, before they both go after their boy.
Indeed, there is a wonderful ambiguity throughout in all the relationships of those eight young men, Gus/Benvolio and Josh/Mercutio, Adam/Friar Lawrence and Josh/Mercutio in YouTube-like videos that serve as a kind of chorus, or the almost palpable raw sexual jealousy of Carlos/Tybalt for Sam/Romeo or Glenn/Juliet I'm still not sure which it is); even the Nurse/Omar and Glenn/Juliet's relationship is more like a couple of schoolgirls giggling over some hunk they've both got a crush on than the relationship between a virginal young thing and an old bawd, the way it's usually played.
Anyway, I don't know if Appleman, a fabulous young actor, meant that to be, but it certainly seemed to me that that's what he was playing. His babbling in the Queen Mab scene and the lead up to the balcony scene actually brought to mind the fist-to-the-chest intense physical presence of young Brando in Streetcar or Christian Bale in American Psycho.
Now, as to the language issue, which might even be called a problem: Despite the pontificating of would be panjandrums like Ezra Pound and others of his ilk that American English has got beyond all that, I remain convinced that iambic pentameter is still the native rhythm even of American English. And English, no matter where she is spoke, is a language of rhythmic vitality and vibrancy: One of the ways you can almost always tell that English, however well spoken, is not someone's cradle tongue is because they might have the words, but they don't get the tune, as Mark Twain put it (albeit in a different context); they just don't get the rhythm right.
And, of course, in 400 years meanings of words have changed, other words have vanished altogether, new words undreamed of in the 16th century are today in common parlance, English still had lingering from Anglo-Saxon a familiar/singular (thee/thou/thy/thine) and a formal/plural (you/your), forms based on spoken elisions (a/an, "the" with a long or short "e" accordingly), and folks were still intimately acquainted with concepts foreign to many Americans in the 21st century: "Have you leave to go to shrift?" for instance simply means "Do you have permission to go to confession?"
I have no wish to sound elitist or arrogant but I have been a teacher of both music and English and know that taking the time to work through the strangeness and transcend the time warp can be a source of great reward. I have actually been at performances of A Winter's Tale, A Merchant of Venice, the Scottish play and others as well as Romeo & Juliet with an audience consisting largely of American teenagers, and it amazed me then, and it still does, how quickly and completely the drama captivates them.
So: A sweet, happy, strange (oh yeah) film, I can't recommend it highly enough, and the five stars that I'm giving it are well deserved. I might even say that, after 320 years, in a peculiar sort of way, this film has finally vindicated poor old Nahum Tate. . . .
Alan Brown (Superheroes, Book of Love, etc) has adapted a poignant capsule of Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET and directs his version as a little film that is full of riches. Not only has he allowed Shakespeare's lines to be delivered intact but he has the courage to embellish their meaning by placing the story in a military academy, a move that has a lot of punch considering the recent advances in the military attitude toward gays. Brown very successfully mixes this contemporary all male setting with bits of contemporary dialog and music and academy activity with sports etc to offer a very different look at the tale of forbidden love, has cast a highly gifted cast of New York stage actors to play all the roles, and has the courage to make this all work quite successfully. As one PR summary puts it, `When eight cadets are left behind at an isolated military high school, the greatest romantic drama ever written seeps out of the classroom and permeates their lives. Incorporating the original text of 'Romeo and Juliet,' YouTube videos, and lip-synced Indie rock music, Private Romeo takes us to a mysterious and tender place that only Shakespeare could have inspired.'
Once the setting is established, we are privy to a classroom (English literature) where the men/boys are reciting Sjakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet and from there the readers take on the roles as they move outside the classroom. The extremely talented Seth Mumrich plays Romeo and his gifted costar in Broadway's WAR HORSE Matt Doyle is Juliet. Hale Appleman is given the combined roles of Mercutio and Lord Capulet, Sean Hudock shares both Benvolio and Lady Capulet, Adam Barrie is Friar Lawrence, Chris Bresky plays the Nurse, and the magnetic Bobby Moreno plays Tybalt. Of course each of these characters, being military academy pre-soldiers, has a common name and Alan Brown manages to intermix the reality of these students with the Shakespearean characters deftly. The love that Seth Mumrich and Matt Doyle display is very real and touching and while there is kissing here there is no other manifestation of Shakespeare's perfect but doomed love affair: this movie is for all audiences. After the `tomb scene' and to bring us back into reality, the very talented Matt Doyle sings `You made me love you' directly to the audience. A fine way to bring this experimental piece to an end.
Everything about this film works well - the Shakespeare excerpts are well molded to provide the essential story and are delivered expertly by the cast, the variations of the military academy theme (especially in these times) is a powerful statement, and the use of contemporary entertainment media enhances the story very well. This is a smart, beautifully acted, well devised and delivered `update' of one of the oldest love stories in history. Grady Harp, July 12
on June 10, 2012
I usually never review products, but after watching this movie I felt I needed to encourage others to watch this film. The premise is a modern day Romeo/Juliet romance at a boy's military academy. There are 8 young men in the film, a very small cast but they all truly express the story in such a way that you don't care that it is about 95% of actual script from Shakespeare. The actually filming of the movie really felt powerful. Many of the scenes were filmed in low lighting which adds some power to the scenes. There is also a slight twist at the end of the film which I was really pleased to see.
Lastly while this film in not rated, in my opinion it would receive a PG rating. There is no nudity beyond guys without their shirts on, and there are only a few kisses between Romeo/Juliet which last perhaps 45 seconds total throughout the entire film. It is a very tastefully well made film which I am very proud to have in my collection. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys: gay cinema, a beautiful romance story between the two very sexy young leads, Shakespeare, or simply a very cleverly made film that draws you in and tells a wonderful story.
on August 10, 2012
Wow, what a surprise this film turned out to be. The idea of a same-sex Romeo and Juliet would seem played out by now, but these young actors and their inspired director bring an immediacy and intimacy to Shakespeare's tragedy that I have never encountered before (and believe me, I have seen many productions - inspired and not so - of Romeo and Juliet). I found myself reacting as though I knew nothing of this story and had never heard Shakespeare's familiar words before. The film is truly a small miracle.
All the actors are good, but I want to single out Hale Appleman for his charisma and potent stillness (and for making sense of the Queen Mab speech!) and Matt Doyle for his freshness, vulnerability and radiant joy as the "Juliet" in this military school drama.
I would have been happier with less hand-held camera work, but even so, an easy 5 stars.
on December 30, 2012
If you want to watch something totally unique, you're at least open to the wonder of Shakespeare's dazzling verse (at least in this well-known "tragedy"), and you don't find the idea of two guys making out "icky", you should watch this amazingly clever revision ("re-vision") of Romeo and Juliet. Although, because all of the actors are good looking young men for whom gender identity is decidedly beside the point, it is and has been marketed to a LGBT audience. But unlike many of that cynical cinematic library, it's not in the least pornographic, contains no nudity or profanity, and doesn't try in any way to be the "special interest" movie that, alas, most will take it for. The subject of same-sex attraction is never mentioned. It is merely *the case*, to crib Wittgenstein. And it isn't in any other discernible way exploitative. It's just the cinematic creature of a brave and truly insightful crew the beauty of whose awesome craft includes some of the best acting and screen writing I've seen in a long while.
As "West Side Story" was a mid 20th century palimpsest of the same play, "Private Romeo" is a 21st century retake on a 16th century tragedy that almost everyone knows, or thinks they do. Except "Private Romeo" adapts Shakespeare's pellucid verse to director Alan Brown's wildly imaginative vision, to transform a mundanity expected by the film's central conceit of a setting, to "fair Verona" and her famous feud. It may seem, at first, a bit surreal - the exigencies of its physical/temporal setting have to stand for medieval Verona; and 8 cadets, left alone on the otherwise deserted campus (never mind why) of a military school have to distinguish themselves into Montagues and Capulets for a few days as their temporary lives become Mercutio and Benvolio, their words necessarily become the actual play, well, most of them, and Juliet's a boy, and the ending is updated, and other such trivial matters - on second glance present less obstacles to verisimilitude than one might at first think. In addition to being the greatest writer who ever lived, Shakespeare was a practical man, and his scaffolding is especially sturdy in Romeo & Juliet to bear such conceits. In Shakespeare's time/place, girls were always really played by boys in theaters. Also, this re-invention of the play has a different ending. But Romeo & Juliet is about the irrational intensity of youth and the poetry of physical passion. And writer/director Alan Brown's industry is so repeatedly and constantly surprising, he ends up bringing it all off.
But no matter. These fine actors stitch it altogether and one sees a familiar story, with familiar words, in a totally new and fluid way. It is hard to overstate how good the performances are. In addition to playing dual roles as cadets, and members of the Montague and Capulet crews, some of the actors play multiple roles in the R&J story. Hale Appleman is as fun to watch as eating pie, with his ticks and grins contrasting with his rage at his abandonment, expressed symbiotically with Shakespeare's glorious pentameter. Moreover, Mr. Appleman's part in this film requires him to play 3 roles: the military cadet, Nef; Romeo's BFF, Mercutio; and Capulet, Juliet's father. The scene where he, as Capulet, tells Juliet that he has arranged for her to marry someone other than Romeo, is gut wrenching. The scene where Mr. Appleman, as Mercutio, fights and is eventually "slain" by Tybalt, crackles with craft and a startling range of expression. Chris Bresky, as the meddlesome nurse, is alive in two skins at once. As Romeo & Juliet, Seth Numrich and Matt Doyle burn up the screen. And Matt Doyle's transcendent rendering of one of the great American songs during the end credits is worth spending an hour on the internet trying to find the mp3. (Try youtube.)
The contrast between the emptiness of the set - montages of stills, taps and revelry, the raising of the flag twice, empty dorms and classrooms, and the organic adaptation of Shakespeare's intensity, both in the grief and in the jokes - the strangeness of its transformations - and its beautifully declaimed youthfulness, make both the play and the movie "two as one", in Friar Lawrence's words about those ageless star-crossed lovers.
Of course, this movie apparently never even made the theaters and it was made on a dime, but it's truly brilliant in my opinion. The 8 actors who play in this film are mostly unknown outside of theatrical venues and thus have amazingly intelligent and well-crafted chops. It's available on Amazon Instant Video, and may be on Netflix streaming video too. Or you could just rent the DVD if you live in one of those far off corners of the world where one can still go to a store and rent a movie. Unless you're a total bigoted nitwit, you'll thank me.
on May 22, 2013
I've always felt that good Shakespeare can be great, and bad Shakespeare can be horrendous. It takes a sense of confidence and a dash or orignality to pull off any updating of the Bard's work. That said, doing this doesn't always guarantee success... I cite Baz Luhrmann's "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" as a great example. The idea is there... the sense of style is there... the results suck. I hated that film as it seemed to take one of the depthiest pieces ever written and reduce it to a skin-deep shoot-em-up with two-dimensional characters.
"Private Romeo" takes a huge - and I mean HUGE - risk is making the romance a same-sex one. It's a big stretch. But by relying on a lot of Shakespeare's writing and creating a stark, blank canvas to work with, Alan Brown succeeds beautifully.
Brown, who also scripted, begins with a great set-up: nearly all of the students and faculty of the small McKinley Military Academy are off-site on training exercizes... the remaining eight students are left to hold down the fort, so to speak. In their literature class, they are reading aloud the script of "Romeo and Juliet". Seamlessly, the script begins to meld into their day-to-day lives. At first it's a bit disconcerting... but when you stop to think that Shakespeare wrote the play with people this age in mind, it begins to make sense and become natural to the world of the film.
A romance blossoms between cadets Singleton (our Romeo, played by Seth Numrich) and Mangan (Juliet, played by Matt Doyle.) It seems that these two boys are from opposite cliques at the school, and their obvious attraction creates tension with the other cadets. The story goes from there... the star-crossed lovers, the violent clashes between the two factions, etc.
Brown deserves a ton of credit for creating a haunting world for the film to take place in, both sterile and rich, and both plain and elegant. He also gets kudos for assembling a group of eight really fine actors. Often times, shoddy acting can tank a well-intentioned independent film; here, the depth and heart presented by the handsome cast helps propel and elevate the film. My personal favorites were Hale Appleman as Neff/Mercutio and Adam Barrie as Hersh/Friar Lawrence, both of whom inject fire and mystery into their performances.
The end result here is a moving retelling of the classic that stuck with me for days after viewing. Is it everyone's cup of tea? Probably not. But if you like Shakespeare and are open to new ways to view it, this film will score points with you as well.
on June 21, 2012
So I waited and rented this after seeing a trailer of it somewhere. I bidded my time and when it hit Amazon I was all over it. LOL, anyway so I rented it and found myself playing all of the scenes over in my head and loving every moment of it. This was an amazing movie and I would recommend this to any one who is weary of gay love stories, this is poetic and beautiful and most of all not the "Just Jack" kind of gay that most think of when they think gay film. This was not it and I am glad to have found it. I'm on the fence to purchasing it but I think it is a buy after all of this thought process.
Well worth the money and the watch!
on September 10, 2012
There are plenty reviews out there for this title ranging from the general positive/negative reactions by competent film critics to the thoroughly in-depth literary analysis into the original work of Shakespeare in conjunction to this modern reworking. This review will just be my two cents into how I felt about this film. Overall, for an independent film it did not feel cheaply made at all. The acting by the actors in this film was outstanding especially with the complicated and verbose language of the source material. For those that start to develop headaches trying to decipher the meaning in the dialogue just lower the volume and enjoy the handsome actors reciting Shakespeare. There is something magnetic about the way the young actors deliver their lines as cadets that sharply contrast with the world and time that Romeo and Juliet "lived" in. It takes some getting used to the gender swapping and a little understanding of all the major characters in Romeo and Juliet is helpful so one can understand the rivalry and really immerse themselves into the drama. Mercutio ,as played by Hale Appleman, is at times menacing and played to perfection. Hale delivers the Queen Mab speech in a way that allows the viewer to not get lost by the utter strangeness of it. Matt Doyle as Juliet captures the raw giddiness of young love with an effervescent smile and with soul piercing eyes. Seth Numrich is a capable Romeo and is a standout in his romantic scenes. The other actors also dive into their parts with ease and great understanding. One look into the prestigious resumes of all involved in this project clue you into why they are so adept at interpreting the lines charged to them. This is a strong independent adaptation though it is really not or everyone. Those that can get over the quirkiness of this updated tale will really enjoy it and those that liked it enough to purchase it will enjoy the few bonus features including commentaries included in the DVD.