Director: Carol Carlei
Starring: Hailee Steinfield, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti
When I first found out this film was happening my first thought was, why? Franco Zeffirelli created the classic Romeo and Juliet and Baz Luhrmann blew everything out of the water with his frankly iconic and stunning modern day adaptation. Of course it helped that when I first saw Luhramnn’s film, Leo was unquestionably every teenage girls celebrity crush.
And that’s just it, it would be harsh to say that Douglas Booth is not attractive, but he crosses over to being, in all honesty, a bit of a drip. Romeo is obviously a frustrating character at times who dwells very much in the land of self pity, but something about Di Caprio’s portrayal made it forgiving. As well, the moment where Douglas and Hailee first see each other doesn’t have that instant lightening bolt of passion and that really is the crux of the storyline.
It’s Shakespeare set in its time so the classical drama and roaring romance is expected, but this adaptation leaves it all feeling a little cringe-worthy. That’s not to take it away from Hailee who plays a fantastic Juliet and I thoroughly enjoyed Giamatti as Friar Lawrence. It was also pleasantly surprising to see Damian Lewis’ portrayal of Lord Capulet, a far cry from his most famous role as war hero turned terrorist Brody in Homeland.
The costumes are brilliant, and the overall visual effect of the film truly re-lives the era, but I found myself wanting to get hooked in and not being able to. There were moments where individual cast members carried the film, but it lacked any real grit.
In Luhrmann’s film we see the iconic outfits, the fish tank moment, the memorable walk of Leo up the aisle to find Juliet (Clare Danes) dead, and despite knowing the ending I am always gripped from start to finish.
It was a tough call for Carlei to try and match up to the widely loved version of Romeo & Juliet by Luhrmann which his film has followed, and sadly it hasn’t quite paid off.
I think this is a wait for the DVD film.
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