Tuesday, 20 March 2012

West Side Story (1961) - ★★★½

Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
Writers: Ernest Lehman (screenplay)
Stars: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris

West Side Story in many ways was a disappointment for me. After hearing many great things about the acting, the dancing, the set and the costumes I thought that this movie would appeal to me greatly. However, 15 minutes into the movie I realised that it was a Romeo and Juliet rip-off set in New York between two rival gangs, The Jets (Americans) and The Sharks (Puerto Ricans). Although the story left me wanting more, I highly enjoyed this film from an artistic point of view.

The story revolvs around Tony (Richard Beymer) and Maria's (Natalie Wood) forbidden love due to them belonging to opposite gangs. I couldn't relate to them as I would with most movie couples. They seemed cold toward each other, which brought the movie down for me. I found the beginning of the movie where the two gangs walk through the street clicking and stalking each other extremely entertaining and was the highlight of the movie for me, as well as the lovely music that accompanied it.

This movie has masterful interpretive dancing and incredible music but it left me yawning and trying my best to pay attention to this movie. The story reminded me of a bad rendition of Romeo and Juliet that a child wrote. It just didn't catch me. If you enjoy good acting and original plots above all else, give this movie a pass. If you enjoy remarkable dancing and ageless music more than anything in a film, then this is the movie for you.

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