Dominic Corry of NZHerald.co.nz shares his pop-infused Shakespeare review of Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song from the 2013 NZ Film Festival.
“My ongoing film festival experience took me to the Kiwi musical Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song on Friday night.
The film came together in a unique manner – Producers Michael O’Neill and Peter van de Fluit wrote and recorded a musical interpretation of the bard’s tragic romance then charged local director Tim Van Dammen with constructing a film to go with the songs.
So the vast majority of the actors are actually lip-syncing to vocals they themselves didn’t record. Hey, it worked for West Side Story (in which neither of the lead actors sang their own parts), so why not here?
I went into Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song resolving to keep an open mind. But no generosity was needed to embrace this unique film, which displays an emotionally-assured grasp of what makes this famous story so enduring.
“With its attractive leads and youthful spirit, it’s not hard to imagine the High School Musical/Glee crowd embracing this film, if they were given a chance to.”
The big moments all feel huge, and the mostly unknown actors hold their end up impressively. The campervan park setting somehow feels appropriate and contributes greatly to the film’s confidently-mounted singular aesthetic.
The first song we hear is a rap, which is perhaps a little jarring, but it doesn’t take long for the drive of the story to take hold.
Despite its low-budget origins, the film is way less grimy than I anticipated. Most of the songs lean in a cheesy direction, but hey, that’s musicals. With its attractive leads and youthful spirit, it’s not hard to imagine the High School Musical/Glee crowd embracing this film, if they were given a chance to.”