Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


The greatest love story ever told comes to life in mythical Verona Beach, a city ripe with attitude, passion and vengeance. Gangs rule the streets, and the citizens either thrive or barely survive in the wild raw environment. Set against this backdrop is a stunning rendition of Shakespeare's classic tale Romeo & Juliet. In this opulent world of hate, rival gangs and families at war, Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes), are ignited by the passion of first forbidden love and Verona Beach explodes.

"From that audacious opening - a black female newsreader on Fox News reading Shakespeare's prologue - through the gothic-inspired yet unique, overture-like titles sequence, this is a film that every serious (and not so serious) DVD owner must have. Not only is the film one of the masterpieces of modern cinema, it takes your DVD system on a test drive which will separate the pretenders from the real thing.

With the cars growling and the gangs (Capulet v Montague) prowling, Baz Luhrmann's visual bravado stands out for being totally in tune with its subject matter. This is the true art of design following function in cinematic drama, and his homage to the original text is symbolised by his insistence on calling the film "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet".

Rich, fully saturated colours drip on the screen, and the pristine sound delivers the firebrand score with the oomph of a live concert. In fact, oomph is the only word to adequately describe this DVD. The romantic design of the main menu is coupled with fast and easy navigation to any one of the chapters (29) or languages (10). There are no other features, but that's perhaps just as well - a Baz Luhrmann commentary would be great, but perhaps superfluous: the film speaks for itself - besides, after the film had taken your breath away, you wouldn't have the energy to enjoy it.
Andrew L. Urban

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CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Diane Venora

DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

DVD Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April, 2000

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