Attempting to tell the story of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet through the eyes and mouths of eight male cadets who are left behind at an isolated military high school, Alan Brown's Private Romeo is ambitious from the start. Add in the same-sex relationship element, and the film just got a bit more...ballsy.
Starring Seth Numrich and Matt Doyle, both from the Tony Award-winning production of War Horse, Private Romeo has the cast it needs to transform Brown's visions into a reality. And while I applaud Brown's courageous efforts, the film failed to materialize into the experience I was hoping for.
I'm not sure if it had to do with the lack of pronoun accuracy, or the film's mere refusal to change the story's names to match those that they are reciting, but I found the on-screen presentation hard to follow as the story progressed. The transition between present English and Shakespeare's poetic voice seemed a bit casual, as I could find no real rhythmic alteration between the two (not to mention the two randomly placed lip-synching Youtube videos).
At the end of the film I was more relieved it was over than impressed with what I saw. Sure, I knew how the story would end from the onset, and seeing it in present time is always interesting, but the story failed to connect, and when dealing with such a revolutionary idea as this, a connection is absolutely required. A commentary feature, deleted scenes montage, and behind the scenes featurette accompany the film, none of this promote the disc to ownership status.