ROMEO & JULIET  (7out of 10) Directed by Joel Petrie; Screenplay by Joel Petrie; Starring Dallin Major, Devin Neff, Maddy Forsyth, Topher Rasmussen, Laurie Harrop-Purser, Brian Kocherhans, Kaitlyn Dahl, Shawn Saunders; Rated NR; In limited release October 13; Available VOD on Amazon

Romeo & Juliet, the Shakespearean classic, has been told in every iteration you can imagine.

But brought into this era, with modern cinematic skill and acoustic sound, Parking Garage Pictures rendition of Romeo & Juliet is a refreshing and unique take on the star-crossed lovers.

What sets this updated version apart from its predecessors is the relatability of the characters. Staging the scenes in present day allows for creative license with the titular characters, and it works. Juliet (Devin Neff) comes from an abusive home, dresses to set herself apart, and dreams of a life kinder than her own. Romeo (Dallin Major) hangs with an outcast crew, but does not succumb to their lifestyle. He values his schooling, but does not “bite his thumb” at his friends who choose an alternative lifestyle. These characters are people we would encounter in our everyday lives, and we even see their traits in ourselves.

Romeo & Juliet is available VOD on Amazon, but I sincerely encourage viewings on the large screen at select Megaplex Theaters in Utah (starting October 13). The visuals are stunning. Scenes are lit, staged, and framed so exquisitely I wanted to print and frame some of the shots. Coupled with original music, this Utah-based production company’s interpretation of a classic is worth viewing. 

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