Sunday, September 25, 2011

WEST SIDE STORY (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)

**½
USA
Musical theatre and gang warfare. It's an uneasy mix. For the Sharks and the Jets, fists and guns just won't do. They settle their scores the only real way: through dance.

Yes, it's an easy target today, but once upon a time this mix of self-conscious cool and sledgehammer topicality won accolades and Academy Awards.

Admittedly the better numbers - America, the gym dance, bits of Cool - have lost none of their electric charge. In order to get to them, it's almost worth furrowing through all the posturing, the caricatures, the soggy vacant leads, the James-Cameron-hits-da-streets dialogue, the endless moralising and general endlessness (two and a half hours!).

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