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Private Romeo 2011

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Innovative adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' set in an all-male military academy. Following on from the success of Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo and Juliet' (1996), which transplanted the original dialogue of the play into a modern setting and aesthetic, the film sticks closely to the Shakespearean text while telling of the love, loss and conflict between a group of young men. Eight male cadets, including Josh (Hale Appleman) and Ken (Charlie Barnett), inhabit the military school and find their lives fused with the spirit of Shakespeare's most famous tragedy.

Starring:
Sean Hudock, Chris Bresky
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 38 minutes
Starring Sean Hudock, Chris Bresky, Matt Doyle, Hale Appleman, Charlie Barnett, Adam Barrie
Director Alan Brown
Genres Drama
Studio TLA RELEASING
Rental release 30 April 2012
Main languages English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Private Romeo"(inventive and apt title)is a lovely film, in fact one of the best films of this genre that I have seen. It is based on Shakespeare's drama but the viewers are also introduced to a second love story. The actors are overall very professional and convincing. The chemistry between Matt Doyle(Juliet) and Seth Numrich(Romeo) is truly amazing. This film is definitely a "must buy". I am certain that you will enjoy it and never forget it.
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Format: DVD
I LOVE this movie. I loved it the first time I watched it, and I've loved it even more each of the three times I've watched it since then; it continues to astonish me.

The adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to an all-boys' military academy is very effective, and Seth Numrich (Sam/Romeo) and Matt Doyle (Glenn/Juliet) have the most electrifyingly romantic scenes I've seen in a long time - maybe ever. Hale Appleman (Josh/Mercutio) is riveting, the best actor in a very gifted cast (all of whom are young New York theatre actors who had prior experience with Shakespeare on stage).

Familiarity with Romeo and Juliet will help a lot in following the fast-moving and sometimes chaotic story, and multiple viewings are well worth the time and effort.

Many people who don't like Private Romeo just don't like Shakespeare, which is understandable in a generation raised on reality TV and crap like Avatar and the superhero/action movie that gets remade under a different title several times every year.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, serious devotees of Shakespeare may have a problem with the liberties taken, not only in the male Juliet but in the slightly changed ending; but they cannot fault the amazing spirit of this movie - Shakespeare would be writing an even more glowing review if he were here. For people who love Shakespeare but are okay with free adaptations and low budgets, this is about as good as it gets. Even intelligent straight people may like it.

The "balcony" scene is especially glorious, the most perfect mating of language and feeling I have ever seen; but all four or five of their love scenes are revelations. I wish I had a hundred stars to lavish on this most excellent little movie.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A dream for ever and ever. To have "Romeo and Juliet" performed the way it was at the time of Elizabeth and the Globe Theatre, only with men and boys. But dream in the dream, let the boys be boys and not disguised boys, boys in drag, drag queens of sorts. What would happen if...?

Alan Brown has just done it. And he pushed his boyization of the play to the farthest point possible. Late teenagers in a military academy, or rather prep school, cadets who want to go to West Point all of them. Not only do the young men play all the roles but they play them with the necessary emotion and force. Romeo and Juliet who are two young men of 17 years of age really live their love as if they were in love, because they are in love, at least they are telling us with their tears, with their voices, with their bodies at all levels of nudity, though nothing frontal, that they are in love and that they spent the night before the lark sings nude in the same bed, spooning one against the other one in the other.

We are supposed to be moved by that love and by the hostility it reveals in some of these cadets, but there the film is discrete. No one dies, no one is really wounded, but the fights are real fights since cadets have some experience and training at close combat. And the atmosphere of the academy, though deserted since we only have a dozen cadets left, all the others being out on some field exercise, is reconstructed with small details here and there: the reveille, the flag going up and down, the roughness of an all male community, the showers and the washrooms, the two non-commissioned officers looking after the dozen abandoned cadets and making them march through an empty yard.

But that's not the real point.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A clever retelling of Romeo & Juliet set within the closeted confines of a military academy for young cadets. While the drama of the star-crossed lovers is played out in the classroom, Sam/Romeo and Glenn/Juliet find themselves falling in love.
This is beautifully made, with some real stand out performances, Hale Appelman's Queen Mab speech is superbly done, an evocative paean to this mysterious creature but also a perfect demonstration of Mercutio's narcotic state and a perhaps repressed desire to impress Romeo.
Appelman also gets the meaty dream speech and a powerful confrontation with Bobby Moreno's Tybalt in the gym which gives the hard edged conflict between "warring" factions necessary for this play.

However, the heart of the film is the romance between Seth Numan and Matt Doyle's two young cadets, falling head over heels without thought of the consequences of their actions at a time when DADT was still very much in full force (at the time the film was made). They come together for a brief moment, are separated due to conflict and pass out from a cocktail of drugs purloined from Friar Laurence in the chemistry lab (a nicely understated performance from Adam Barrie).

But the real star of this film is the devotion to the original material. The Bard is not tampered with except to move dialogue around to place in different acts. While roaming down a corridor looking for a hiding Romeo, Benvolio (Sean Hudock) and Mercutio still speak of trees not classroom doors, Juliet remains a she, as does Nurse (a comedic tour de force from Chris Bresky).

With Charlie Barnett rounding out the cast of just eight as the cadet left in charge/Prince Escalus, Alan Brown's direction gives this film a lilting feel which ebbs and flows around the darker side of Shakespeare's play. Alongside the Original score composed by Nicholas R. Wright are also a couple of top tunes from indie band Bishop Allen.
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