Manhattan, Upper West Side, 1957. Against the backdrop of the decaying tenements of New York, two gangs fight for supremacy. This oscar-winning reimagining of the beloved musical tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City.
An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
This is a West Side Story for both the past and present, as pleasing as the best movie musicals used to be, and as relevant as today’s headlines. It makes you feel like you are actually on the turbulent streets of New York’s west side, not a sound stage.
West Side Story is contrived, certainly, a hothouse flower of musical theatre, and Spielberg quite rightly doesn’t try hiding any of those stage origins. His mastery of technique is thrilling; I gave my heart to this poignant American fairytale of doomed love.
Career con artist Roy can hardly believe his luck when he meets a well-to-do widow on-line. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life.
Consummate con man Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), worth millions. And Roy means to take it all.
From their very first meeting, Roy begins plying Betty with his tried and true manipulations, and Betty, who seems quite taken with him, is soon going along for the ride. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes—revealing more insidious deceptions that will take them both through a minefield of danger, intrigue and betrayal.
This movie rattles along with terrific energy and dash and the flashback sequences show that it’s actually far more daring and ambitious that you might expect. It’s a great duel between McKellen and Mirren.