Posted by: Joe | July 15, 2008

Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man

Even though I love Shakespeare, and hit squarely into the target age demographic when it was released, I somehow missed seeing Romeo+Juliet until last night.

We had planned on going down to Yonge-Dundas Square for this week’s Romantic Reels installment, but Sheila wasn’t feeling well so she borrowed a copy for us to watch at home instead.

Many reviews critique the quick cuts, flashy cinematography and rock soundtrack for drowning out the story with style, but I think the fault lies more on the wooden line delivery by the majority of the actors. Most of the lines sound like they’re being read from cue cards because the actor didn’t understand what they were saying. It’s easy to focus more on the editing when you’re trying to ignore the players. I find it hard to believe that Claire Daines and Leonardo DiCaprio received so much praise for their performances.

That’s not to say that their acting is altogether bad; they have good screen chemistry and whenever they’re not talking, their performance is fine. But Shakespeare’s dialog has a unique rhythm, and neither lead could find it. It’s easy to see which actors do have extensive Shakespearean experience–Pete Postlethwaite as Friar Lawrence and Miriam Margolyes as Nurse Angelica were both great, delivering their lines naturally and fluidly. I especially enjoyed Harold Perrineau’s portrayal of Mercutio, who to me seemed much more at ease delivering iambic pentameter than in his other later roles in the Matrix sequels or Lost.

The “Out, Out Damned Spot Cleaners” storefront sign and “The Merchant of Verona Beach” made me LOL. I almost want to watch it again to pick up other little references that I’m sure are scattered throughout the sets.

Almost. It was good, but could have been much better with casting that focused on talent rather than actors that just looked like they fit the part. Like a lot of the other pop-culture items from my high-school/university years that I’ve caught up on much later, I don’t feel like I missed much.



  1. I saw it when it first came out and didn’t think much of it, but on my second watch I liked it more. I don’t like DiCaprio, but I do like most of the other actors and once I paid more attention to them I found the movie better.

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