romeo and juliet2
Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth impress as the star crossed lovers

But soft, what light through yonder projector booth breaks? Have we but not just had a cinematic retelling of the story of the star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet?

Did we not sign off on Baz’s dazzling take on the Bard’s teen tragics as the definitive. A glance at the calendar shows that was so last century. Was it really nearly twenty years ago?

And so the time is ripe to conjure a new screen version of the Verona tale, scripted by none other than Julian Fellowes, Academy Award Winning writer of Gosford Park and creator of Downton Abbey and directed by Calabrian born Carlo Carlei.

Their version of ROMEO & JULIET is a traditional, romantic rendition, complete with medieval costumes, balconies and duels. The look of the picture is sumptuous with production design by Tonino Zera and costumes by Carlo Poggioli, and the production was shot in the Verona environs.

The lovers are played by Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld, each of whom are clear and articulate in their delivery.

But the real acting chops go to the supporting players, most notably Paul Giamatti as the pharmacist assisting friar, Damien Lewis as a nicely nuanced Lord Capulet, Natascha McElhone as his wife, and Lesley Manville as the Nurse.

Liberty has been taken with Shakespeare’s dialogue – Tybalt has been truncated and Mercutio loses Queen Mab -and the incessant score by Abel Korzeniowski is a bore and not a patch on the musicality of the Bard, but what remains sustains the gains and pains of these two teenagers in love who fall foul of a futile family feud.

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