Friday, 31 July 2015

Tromeo and Juliet (1997) review

You'd think it would be hard to retell Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet as anything new and original. The tale of the two young star-crossed lovers is a classic that has been plagiarised to death. Troma, the independent filmmakers who specialise in filth and disgust, decided that nothing is sacred and this centuries old play is due for a bit of an update. Like Baz Lurhman's Romeo + Juliet, released the year before, this is set in the present day, but that's where all the similarities end.

This version sees a poor Tromeo Que (Will Keenan) being cheated on, while his father whiles away in farty drunkenness. Juliet Capulet (Jane Jensen), despite being pleasured by the house cook, is constantly berated by her mean and abusive father and due to marry a rich meat merchant. At a party, where Tromeo is disguised as a cow, they fall in love immediately.

So far, so obvious. This version however sees Tromeo masturbate to "true love" porn, Juliet caged in glass boxes because her father can't stand the idea of his daughter having sex, as well as car crashes that end with dismembered limbs and faces into fire hydrants. The helpful priest reminisces about his past pederastic relationships, and the medicine meant to feign death instead turns Juliet into a hideous pig monster with a three foot long penis. And then there's Juliet's sex anxiety dreams...

Of course this is a Troma film, there's going to be this risque gore and sex. It's not rated unrated for nothing. And while blood and tits maybe enough for a little while, Tromeo and Juliet go the extra mile with a script that actually attempts to be funny and smart while still keeping it crude. Shakespeare's original text is utilised is surprising ways. "See how she leans her cheek upon her hand/Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand/That I might touch that cheek!" is instead not about Juliet's face, but her bum.

If you're easily perturbed and find yourself upset at the sight of a paper cut, then maybe this film won't be for you. Me, however, I was immensely entertained and impressed at the effort to make this a smart and satisfying piece of trash, and I found myself laughing all the way through it. The ending takes an overdose of  artistic license, but is a hilariously disturbing vision to haunt your English teachers mental breakdown.



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