West Side Story

West Side Story ★★

Pop academicism that is meticulous crafted and lifeless most of the time, everything is in place but so little breathes (made me think of Scorsese at his worst) and far too much of it seems to be taken by commentary to just be. Of course, the score is still great and there's moments the musical numbers have some force to them. Even as his box office numbers goes down, Spielberg can't help but function as US official filmmaker even without trying (it is one of his most intriguing qualities I'd argue) particularly in its self-deceptions, nearly every Kushnner revision is grotesque aimed towards patting the Lincoln Center audience back, the reinforced gentrification subtext is dully noted while never made uncomfortable and it manages to be contemporary enough while full of nostalgic reassurance. This also has a major Ansel Elgort problem, not because he is awful exactly, he seems serviceable bland in the play's worst part, but because the movie is clearly having an anxiety attack around the fact that it didn't had the nerve to recast him, self-sabotaging itself on editing time and again and never allowing the Tony scenes to flow naturally. The third act is a disaster, part because the two more exciting performers (Faist, Alvarez) have long exit, part because the earnest romance is rendered useless by the Elgort question. The least safe thing about this is how it is less a movie than an autopsy for a long gone popular culture.

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