07 August 2012

Movie Review: Private Romeo

Now, there is a 50/50 chance you'll have the same reaction that I did to this movie. In one school of thought, the movie was "an earnest experiment in don't-ask-don't-tell drama as indebted to shirtlessness as to iambic pentameter." See Jeanette Catsoulis' full review here. In the other school of thought, "Get a bunch of male hotties reciting Shakespeare's most immortal love poetry to one another and you have a hot movie, right? Wrong!" See David Noh's full review here.

I have watched all sorts of versions of Romeo and Juliet, live, filmed, video-ed, etc., and I have never really felt like any have captured the essence of the Shakespeare's story. There is something about this film that is missing something but it hasn't anything to do with Shakespeare's story.

O God! did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood? 

It did, it did; alas the day, it did!

I have read and watched performed these lines hundreds of times and yet it was only in this movie that it had some kind of emotional meaning for me. How strange? Eight cadets are left behind -- for some reason unclear -- for a long weekend at their all-male military high school. There are two factions among them and through their study of Romeo and Juliet, literature blends into reality as the newest reenactment of star crossed lovers.

This is worth watching and deciding which camp you fall into. Of course, maybe you just want to watch a bunch of shirtless hotties (citybuoy, Manila Bitch) belt out iambic pentameter? Be forewarned though that the actors have great stage presence and chemistry and play their roles well and so that aspect of it really is just a little bit of a bonus.

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