Smita Srivastava. There is a trend of remake films both in Hollywood and Bollywood. Now renowned Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who has directed memorable films like Jurassic Park, Lincoln, has remade the musical love story. West Side Story is based on the musical play of the same name, which was staged in 1957. This story was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In 1961, a film based on the same play was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film was adjudged the best musical film of that time. Steven had said in one of his interviews that he has been a fan of this story since childhood. The film was to be released on Christmas last year, but due to the pandemic, its release was postponed. Now it has been released in theatres.
‘West Side Story’ is based on the feud between two rival factions, the Jets and the Shakers, and the love story between two young people in New York in the fifth decade of the last century. The Shakers are the children of the migrant working class striving to advance. This is the generation that has been removed from the ranks of the rural poor in America’s Caribbean. He is trying to establish a foothold in the metropolis, where he is viewed with prejudice and suspicion. Their leader is the boxer Bernardo (David Alvarez). His girlfriend Anita (Ariana DeBos) is employed. While younger sister Maria (Rachel Jagger) works the night shift as a cleaner in a department store. Bernardo and Anita believe that Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera) will be a good companion for Maria. He dislikes Maria. The Jets are immigrants from Puerto Rico who have come there for their prosperity. Regarding them, the police officer says that after the war, these children are the product of broken families and social neglect. They have no aspirations for the future but casteist resentment has kept them united. Tension between the two factions escalates when the Jets’ co-founder Tony (Angel Elgort) and Maria, who are back from prison, fall for each other. What kind of difficulties they have to face regarding their love, the story progresses on these aspects.
Looking at this film, one remembers the film Josh, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, released in the year 2000. However, in the screen play written by Tony Kushner, the problems of different race and ethnic people have been expressed in the best way. Steven Spielberg’s direction is superb. While watching the film, it seems that you are watching a classic film. Technically, the film is excellent. The camerawork is also pretty great. An important aspect of the story is the frequent fight between the two factions. Looking at the action, the memories of the films of the old era when two factions used to use weapons like knives, chains and revolvers were most important in the fight. Even more noteworthy are the music by Leonard Bernstein and the beautiful choreography by Jerome Robbins, which captivates after a while.
The issue of juvenile delinquency has also been raised here. Although the author has not gone into its depth. Half of the characters in the film are from Puerto Rican. In the film, he speaks dialogues in Spanish at many places. The need to subtitle them was not considered. It is a shame not to have subtitles for an audience ignorant of the Spanish language. The duration of the film is also very long. It could have been reduced by fine editing. Toni’s innocence, aggression and passion in the cast have been perfectly imbibed by Angel Elgort. This is the debut film of Rachel Jagger. He has lived Maria. Ariana DeBos, who became Anita, has given a memorable dance performance. The filming of the film’s climax is superb. Despite some flaws, musical film buffs will love it.
movie review west side story review
Main Cast: Angel Elgort, Rachel Jaeger, Ariana DeBos, David Alvarez
Director: Steven Spielberg
Duration: Two hours 36 minutes