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R. Kurt Osenlund’s “Romeo and Juliet” Is Paint by Numbers Reviewing

In response to R. Kurt Osenlund’s 687‑word review of Romeo and Juliet on Slant Magazine

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R. Kurt Osenlund’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a dry delight. No histrionics beyond adding “y” to “zeitgeist” or “ish” to “Renaissance Faire”, Osenlund’s magic of keeping momentum despite the boring-y prose he has mastered is a real hoot.

What’s the secret?

Delivered with the conviction of a late book report, Osenlund’s desperation to meet the challenge of discussing yet another Shakespeare reboot provides the engine for an otherwise tepid review. And it is this bouncing back, between average and desperate, that creates more firework-y impacts on the mark-1 eyeball of the audience.  There can be no spoilers with a classic, of course, so Osenlund bucks tradition and ignores any and all plot-by-plot talk in this manic piece.

The constant hammering on the poor woman playing Juliet, however, and the false god made of this year’s Romeo, beg the question if Osenlund could ever be satisfied. Picking favorites that save or make a film is a noble tradition in this work.  But having fallen for Romeo so hard, could there ever be a Juliet who could save this film for Osenlund? Perhaps not.  

Nonetheless, it’s worth the read. Why? There is a short essay on the value of a single kiss in the current Hollywood landscape that is worth the wait.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation