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West Side Story Movie Review: Steven Spielberg’s First Musical Is A Spectacular Revival With Few Missteps


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Reviews

oi-Sanyukta Thakare

|


Rating:


3.5
/5


Star
Cast:

Ansel
Elgort,
Rachel
Zegler,
Ariana
DeBose,
Rita
Moreno


Director:

Steven
Spielberg


Duration:

156
Minutes

Language:

English
And
Spanish


Plot:

The
musical
drama
set
in
1950’s
New
York
is
a
modern-day
Romeo
and
Juliet.
On
the
harsh
streets
of
NYC’s
upper
west
side,
two
gangs
battle
for
control
of
the
turf.
However,
the
situation
becomes
complicated
when
a
gang
member
falls
in
love
with
a
rival’s
sister.

Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler,


Review:

West
Side
Story

marked
Steven
Spielberg’s
first
musical,
however,
the
immaculate
direction
and
set
work
makes
it
look
like
he
has
been
working
on
the
theatrical
musicals
for
years.
The
film
is
a
revised
version
of
the
1961
adaptation
of
the
1957
Broadway
musical,
the
revival
keeps
in
mind
the
changing
world
and
incorporates
a
modern
take
on
the
love
story.

Curated
by
filmmaker
Spielberg
and
screenwriter
Tony
Kushner,
West
Side
Story
follows
the
Sharks
and
Jets
two
gangs
in
the
upper
west
side
of
New
York
fighting
for
control
over
their
turf.
While
the
Jets
are
run
of
the
mill
Caucasians
(Polish,
Italian
and
Irish
New
Yorkers);
Sharks
are
fighters
&
proud
Puerto
Ricans.
Both
young
and
hot-blooded
kids
are
ready
to
take
and
give
life
for
pride,
meanwhile,
their
families
and
loved
ones
want
nothing
more
than
to
settle
in
and
live
a
happy
life.

The
film
begins
in
Manhattan’s
Upper
West
Side
in
1957
where
most
of
African
American
neighbourhood
of
San
Juan
Hill
is
being
torn
down
in
the
slum-clearance
policy.
Amid
the
risk
of
losing
their
land,
the
Jets
take
on
the
Sharks
for
the
final
rumble
to
take
complete
control
of
their
turf.
The
rumble
is
set
to
take
place
after
the
school
dance,
however,
the
plans
are
spoiled
by
an
ex-Jets
member,
Tony.

Steven Spielberg On Directing West Side Story: Most Delightful Family Affair I Have Had Since ETSteven
Spielberg
On
Directing
West
Side
Story:
Most
Delightful
Family
Affair
I
Have
Had
Since
ET

Tony
played
by
Ansel
Elgort
is
an
ex-convict
on
parole,
the
minute
he
sets
his
eyes
on
petite
and
innocent
Maria
(Rachel
Zegler)
the
frame
fills
up
with
romance
and
thrill,
setting
the
route
for
the
rest
of
the
familiar
story.
What
is
sure
to
keep
one’s
eyes
glued
to
the
screen
are
the
elaborate
sets
and
lighting
used
to
bring
them
to
life.
The
chemistry
between
Ansel
and
Rachel
is
engrossing
enough
to
make
the
long
ballets
feel
smaller
and
leave
the
audience
carving
for
more.

However,
the
supporting
cast
leaves
just
a
lasting
impression,
from
Maria’s
friend
Anita
played
by
Ariana
DeBose
brings
a
fierce
female
character
to
Rita
Moreno
who
played
Anita
in
the
1961
film,
and
in
the
2021
version
is
the
voice
of
reason
for
the
young
characters.
Mike
Faist
as
Riff
leaves
quite
the
impression
as
a
talented
actor
and
singer
along
with
Iris
Menas
who
plays
Anybody.

Janusz
Kaminski’s
extraordinary
cinematography
brings
all
the
dance
numbers
to
life
and
turns
the
New
York
city
magical
in
every
song.
Meanwhile,
Tony
Kushner
asserts
the
themes
of
mental
health,
immigration,
racial
anxiety,
abuse
of
police
power
and
more
with
subtle
grey
elements
to
keep
both
sides
sympathetic.
Neither
side
likes
each
other
and
neither
are
at
fault
for
hating
the
other.
The
safe
game
helps
the
leads,
Tony
and
Maria
but
it
also
takes
away
the
impact
of
forbidden
love.

After Eternals, West Side Story Banned From Saudi Arabia, UAE & Other Middle East RegionsAfter
Eternals,
West
Side
Story
Banned
From
Saudi
Arabia,
UAE
&
Other
Middle
East
Regions

While
West
Side
Story
gives
some
of
the
best
performances
in
the
group
of
recently
releases
musicals,
it
does
feel
like
two
different
stories
taking
place
at
the
same
time.
While
Maria
and
Tony
are
convinced
the
fight
between
Sharks
and
Jets
is
because
of
them
the
two
gangs
regardlessly
seem
hell-bent
on
killing
each
other.
Even
after
few
deaths
the
love
isn’t
affected
and
it
leaves
you
with
little
to
feel
bad
about
when
the
inevitable
death
takes
place.

Overall,

West
Side
Story

is
unmissable,
but
it
will
also
leave
you
hoping
for
more,
something
better
to
fill
the
gap
it
leaves
at
the
end.

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