JORDAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
A very impressive film for the 60s era. From the choreography to the cinematography to the songs, the dancing and the story. It’s easy to believe that in 1961 it won best picture, along with a bunch of other oscars. It felt weird fast forwarding through the intermission. I felt guilty for not being alive in 1961 and seeing this in the theater. I can only imagine what this film looks like on the big screen. The colors and costumes all just pop. It’s very clear that La La Land took major influence from this film. I can see why, it certainly is quite an achievement.
The opening alone, is great at introducing you to the setting and the conflict. It’s great at showing you the power struggle between the Jets and the Sharks. No one is ever on top, there’s just constant battles in this all out street war. So I thought I knew where this was going by the end of film. However, minor spoiler but it’s not drastic but there is change in this dynamic and what I like is it’s not major and the Jets and Sharks aren’t holding hands and skipping. There’s only minor change but change and I found the reserved nature of it very effective.
All the songs in this are great and catchy. I have to say just wow to al other performers in this. The choreography and how physically demanding it must have been. I have to reiterate that this film is so impressive. The acting, singing and dancing is all good. With a standout for me being Rita Moreno as Anita. I liked how her viewpoints kept shifting with each scene. She was a well fleshed out character. The film is also very relevant after all this time. What with songs like the America. Spot on with its commentary on immigration, racism and hatred. It’s dark material for what seemed like an upbeat musical, I did not know anything about this film except that it was a musical.
The romance in this is not the best romance I’ve seen in a movie. It’s Romeo and Juliet in modern times. It’s a little over top and fantastical one could say. This is a musical though where people dance fight in the streets. So I didn’t see it as too major of a flaw. A little over the top is common in a film like this so I didn’t see it as a major flaw. They’re just a bunch of crazy kids. Overall, this is a film that everyone should see at least once in their lives. I finally got around to it and glad I did. Now, Spielberg is remaking it...at least that remake won’t have a CGI Genie.