Romeo & Juliet is the second film this week (after The Fifth Estate) in which someone called Julian puts the world on nervous alert. The man formerly known as Downton Abbey’s creator is now the founder of “WilliLeaks”.
Thrusting his sword in the Bard’s body, Julian Fellowes watches William Shakespeare bleed to death. The settings ((real Verona churches, streets, painted palazzi) offer some visual compensation for a text dismally rewritten by Fellowes in clichés and crib-notes English and pedestrianly directed by Carlo Carlei. The older actors put on the best show they can, with Damian Lewis a rip-roaring Capulet. But the younger actors are dismal. They gabble, mumble, swallow their lines and are, in a few moments of mercy, inaudible altogether.