This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Logan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
This movie really makes me wish I could snap my fingers... or dance... or sing.... or act....
Absolutely breathtaking shit. Starts out as this magical, fantastical extravaganza of wonder, joy and love, with inklings of hatred, which spiral out of control in the second half where the gang warfare that seems fairly light in the first act, escalates. Dance fighting becomes tragic murder, the true cracks and hatred reveals itself. The Jets and Sharks imbue this idea that you have to remain in tough and manly to feel in control, blaming the otherside for any problems and resorting to violence as a means of emotional relief. It's only when those problems are directly in front of them where they realise their division is meaningless and does more harm than good.
And of course it's a technical marvel. The music is stunning, just great classical musical numbers. It has the room to go from an absolutely beautiful swelling love song like 'Maria' to a fun song about the American Dream versus the American reality for most immigrants in 'America', to an emotionally powerful song like 'A Boy Like That'. Every god damn song is gold and the choreography accompanies that beauty, it's so smooth, like a total dance all around. From the opening chase scene, which shows so much just visually and musically, or the fun physical comedy in 'Gee, Officer Krupke"
The sets are fantastic, you can clearly tell they're sets, but that plays into the aesthetic of the film, and gives them the chance to play with lighting and set switching in really effective ways. As well as that, the editing is so great, there's great effects showing Tony and Maria's love and infatuation, with the world blurring around them.
This movie is a masterpiece, it's an epic tragedy of love and hate and I cannot wait to see how Spielberg totally butchers the remake.