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Romeo And Juliet
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Baz Luhrmann's dazzling and unconventional adaptation of William Shakespear's classic love story is spellbinding. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes portray Romeo and Juliet, the youthful star-crossed lovers of the past. But the setting has been moved from it's Elizabethan origins to the futuristic urban backdrop of Verona Beach.
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Di'Caprio wasn't very famous at that point (though I believe he'd already been nominated for an oscar for an indy film). Later that night, I had dinner with friends and predicted that this boy would become the biggest star in Hollywood -- by tomorrow! I was off by a couple of years. Rare in film history has there been such a perfect casting -- Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo. The mythical balcony scene is freshly designed and executed wonderfully, bringing the myth to life before our eyes. But the crowning glory and superpower of this film is the 'love at first sight' scene - ironic in that there are no words spoken (words being Shakespeare's superpower). It's all done with the eyes by the two young genius actors, combined with inspired camera work and the devastating vocal performance of Des'ree. This is one of the most beautiful, greatest, and most powerful scenes in cinematic history.
What is this emotion -- love at first sight? It might only happen two or three times in our entire lives. It isn't real love. So is it just trivial, adolescent silliness? I think it is much more than that -- and so did Shakespeare. What is our emotional relationship with our desires that can never be? We're haunted forever by the impossiblity of perfect love as much as we were ever thrilled by the fantasy of it. Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo & Juliet' taps deeply into the impossible longings that never leave us. It is a masterpiece.
Oh yeah, the soundtrack is amazing!
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