Baz Luhrmann’s sweltering, garish, hallucinatory take on William Shakespeare’s tale of forbidden love is nothing if not passionate, even if that passion is occasionally misguided. Luhrmann doesn’t seem to understand some of the Bard’s text, and he too often defaults to having his actors scream their lines at each other incomprehensively, but who cares? The movie is practically sweating with coolness, as the Montagues and Capulets now feud in the seaside community of Verona Beach, where “swords” are now a brand of handgun and almost everyone gets a freeze-frame intro. John Leguizamo steals the show as the volatile Tybalt, though Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are definitely the movie’s true stars, managing to do Shakespeare proud even when their director is going a bit overboard.
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