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WEST SIDE STORY

I was totally won over by the sheer cinematic joy Spielberg and his team conjure up during 2.5 blissful hours.


For the majority of the past decade that delightful Steven Spielberg magic has been missing in action, but it's back in full force in West Side Story, a rousing retelling of the classic musical that is sure to delight audiences old and new over the festive season.


Helped by a Tony Kushner script which adds dialogue that truly zings and updates the story with a modern gentrification theme, this new West Side Story fully justifies itself as the rare remake that can stand its own against its predecessor and even improves on it in key areas.


Today's cameras give Spielberg much more freedom than Robert Wise had in 1961 for example, and the director and his go-to cinematographer Janusz Kaminski take full advantage to showcase the dazzling choreography, the colourful costumes and sets that bring fifties New York vividly to life.


A stand-out cast includes a breakthrough performance by Rachel Zegler as Maria, though the not nearly streetwise enough Ansel Elgort is perhaps a weak link as Tony. Still, as someone who went into West Side Story a little sceptically, I was totally won over by the sheer cinematic joy Spielberg and his team conjure up during 2.5 blissful hours.



release: 2021

director: Steven Spielberg

starring: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, Rita Moreno

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