Extended Film Review Baz Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet

1610 words - 6 pages

Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet - Film ReviewBaz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet is a revamped, trendier, modernised appropriation of the romance classic written by William Shakespeare. Luhrmann has commented on many cultural issues in society at the time, by using many cinematic techniques.Luhrmann explores the affect of media on our lives in this day and age, constantly throughout the film. The prologue is shown as a news report, immediately introducing the modern day appropriation, just as the epilogue is also a news report. This is done to give the story more authenticity, and give it a more factual background, but also to show the impact, or influence that media has on our lives. A recurring image of tabloid headlines such as "New Mutiny", and "Civil Hands Unclean", also remind us of the scandal of the media in the 20th centuryLuhrmann is continually using imagery to create meaning in his film. Because he has chosen to keep the Elizabethan language, Luhrmann uses very strong imagery in order to decode the Shakespearean language for the viewer, and put it into a modern context. He uses the technique of pastiche in the prologue to give a quick understanding of the time and place, and a quick preview at the issues surrounding this society. The words "In Fair Verona" ironically reappear again and again in this quick montage, as the word 'fair' contrasts with the chaotic flashing of the images.Luhrmann comments on the issue of religion in a 20th century society, and what value is placed on religion. The recurring images such as the sacred heart, the Virgin Mary, and religious statues comment on the importance of religion in a society that is otherwise corrupted by violence, politics, drugs, and lust. The cleverly integrated techniques of including religious symbols include the portrait of the Virgin Mary on the Tybalt's vest, the statue of the religious icon in the middle of the city, the crucifix necklaces worn by Juliet, among other characters, and the subtle odd crucifix here and there in the background of shots.Luhrmann has also explored the issue of violence in his 20th century appropriation, and how it is relevant of the times. The opening pastiche of violent images, such as fighting, rallies, police controlling citizens, helicopter flying around, and gunshots contrasts with the fact that Luhrmann is introducing the world's best and most famous love story with violence. Luhrmann's main priority when making the film is to use a modern, well-known context in order to show the scene, whilst making it easy for the audience to follow and make sense of the original language. He does this to introduce the feuding violence between the Montagues and the Capulets. Luhrmann alludes to a western feel, through the music, and the costumes of the Capulets (wearing black). Straight away, the audience can tell that there is going to be some type of conflict in the near future, simply by this allusion to a classic western. The tone of the dialogue also suggests the...

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