- Reviews Written:
Posted on 6/05/08 02:49 PM
Technically, I should probably rate this as 5 out of 10. But I'm not going to. So there.
It's beautiful. It's impressively shot.
It's miscast. It fully ignores the language.
Pete Posthewaite is wonderful. Claire Danes does a great job.
Leondardo DiCaprio is atrocious. John Leguizamo is bad.
But see, the reason Shakespeare is so great and important is not the story. It's HOW THE STORY IS TOLD. Which means the LANGUAGE. And most of the people in this movie BUTCHER the language. And guns don't work when you have full scenes with great swordplay. And Juliet stabbing herself is far more romantic and believable than shooting herself.
When you ignore the most important part of a piece of work (yes I'm still talking about the language), it doesn't matter how much you make it look pretty, there will be intrinsic flaws you can never fully cover.
MOULIN ROUGE, on the other hand, blends everything together perfectly. He found a way to use the style and language (in this case singing) and I believed it. I did NOT believe anything they said in R+J.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is that when using heightened language, you need to realize that you're dealing witha heightened world. And I don't care how many cool angles and film tricks you do, this movie is supposed to take place in Venice Beach, California in the 90s. Doesn't work.
TITUS works. Why? Because rather than sticking to a Roman-era theme, the director (Julie Taymor) used bits and pieces of different time periods and styles and pressed them against one another, thus making a new reality. It was a world that has never existed outside of this movie, so I can fully believe any style of speech they want to use, especially heightened language. If she'd had it take place in Harlem 1955, it wouldn't have worked.
So, whey not 5 of 10? Because the acting and attention to the most important part of the story were awful or woefully ignored. I don't care how pretty it is, I wouldn't watch it again.