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West Side Story Review: Divided We Fall

The movie’s initial promotional photos were surely alarming, typified, as they were, by a unheard of and off-striking dedication to beige tones and bland imagery that felt fancy any individual deep-fried Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” remake for sport. Nonetheless we can fortunately file that the executed movie is sumptuous, with Adam Stockhausen’s manufacturing assemble well echoing the Technicolor flash of the accepted movie, but muting the colours barely sufficient to indicate an interpretation of the material that’s extra Cinema Verite than CinemaScope. That’s no longer to voice there’s no longer peaceable extravagant living objects performing your total classics from the show, but that the areas between the songs feel extra pointed, extra acidic. 

That shouldn’t be a lot of a surprise with Tony Kushner on script responsibilities. Ever since their collaboration on “Munich,” Kushner collaborating with Spielberg permits for the storied playwright to make use of his technique with phrases to dramatically train the darker, thornier facets of the suggestions the director needs to catch. The gist of the yarn is the identical, specializing within the massive establish-crossed love myth between Tony (Ansel Elgort), the extinct leader of the Jets, an all-white avenue gang, and Maria (newcomer Rachel Zegler), the youthful sister of Bernardo (David Alvarez), basically the most traditional leader of the Sharks, a Puerto Rican rival gang. It’s peaceable a melodramatic “Romeo & Juliet” retread, no longer less than relating to yarn structure, but Kushner brings the topics to the forefront, with tons of scenes outright addressing suggestions from the accepted that were handiest closely implied.

This supplies texture and grit to the supporting gamers’ diverse subplots. Bernardo no longer feels fancy a Tybalt-esque hothead, but a individual who must be tricky and aggressive to guard his of us within the hopes he can assemble it safer for his sister and the newer generation to no longer fill to scrap so tough for what they need. This is basically evident within the technique the Jets are framed, with Corey Stoll’s Lieutenant Schrank taking frequent breaks from his overt racism in opposition to the Sharks to lambast the boys for being gutter trash. By positioning this turf battle in entrance of a backdrop of demolition and future gentrification, there’s a higher command of sophistication to the proceedings than the racial/cultural animus on the bottom.

No longer every standard flourish or additional sketched out extrapolation lands to boot, although. Anybodys, the “tomboy” wannabe Jet from the accepted, is extra explicitly portrayed as a young trans man, with nonbinary performer Iris Menas within the just. It’s an admirable bit of onscreen illustration, but the framing of a gender-irregular early life desiring to … uh, join an ethno-nationalist avenue gang to feel extra masculine can fill fueled an total Sundance award-winning indie, if left the room to be effectively unpacked. Right here, it ethical feels fancy a unheard of aside incongruous with the comfort of the movie’s objectives.

Nonetheless it completely’s surely tough to fill many complaints a few movie that strikes this well, that feels so exhilarating to stare. The closing couple of times Spielberg used to be this purely balletic gradual the digicam, it used to be shrouded in mo-cap for “Tintin” and “Ready Player One,” so the unbridled thrill of seeing him elevate out what he does finest with staunch human bodies in dash papers over many of the extra minor gripes a viewer would possibly perhaps presumably potentially fill with this remake.

There’s ethical one glaring flaw that is extra keen to miss than most.

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