Outstanding musical values and leads, good locations, drab costumes, distracting camera work, wasted support cast-check...
I really wanted to like this film of Romeo Et Juliette. I love the opera and the story, and I do like Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu. But I was bitterly disappointed.
Romeo Et Juliette(2002) wasn't all bad though. The orchestral playing is always beautiful and sensitive, and the conducting is both commanding and nuanced, never allowing the piece to drag. They alone do justice to Gounod's wonderful music. The locations are striking and authentic, with lovely use of colour. But it's the two leads that really impressed. Roberto Alagna is youthful, ardent yet also intense and romantic, with ringing tone. Angela Gheorghiu gives one of her more involved performances dramatically, giving Juliette a certain delicacy and poignancy, as well as showing a flexibility needed I feel for the role.
However, the camera work is too much and very distracting. It just keeps moving, that way we cannot tell properly what the characters are properly feeling and we can't empathise with them as much. The costumes on the whole are rather drab, all browns and greys, especially in the chorus who manage to act as gloomy as they are attired. I can understand why they needed to cut things out, seeing as the opera is three hours, but truncating it to 73 minutes is too much, consequently the drama is diluted and the film feels rushed. Not to mention most of the supporting cast are reduced to walk-ons. This is especially true of Frere Laurent who only sings like a few bars(and pretty badly). The fight between Mercutio and Tybalt is also incredibly contrived, going for very exaggerated movements.
Overall, very disappointing. The music and the two leads are outstanding, but the camera work, length and costumes bring it down. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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