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Bloody Romeo

Critic:

Patrick Foley

|

Posted on:

2 Mar 2022

Film Reviews
Bloody Romeo
Directed by:
Mukesh Asopa
Written by:
Mukesh Asopa, Anushree Deshpande
Starring:
Mukesh Asopa, Akshay Asopa. Natalie DP
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For all the takes on Romeo and Juliet we’ve been subjected to since Shakespeare’s day, there have been none quite like Mukesh Asopa’s Bloody Romeo – a stylish and original film but one which fails to live up to early intrigue.

 

The film follows Romeo (Mukesh Asopa), a young man who lives a lonely life in a city beset by a spate of mysterious female suicides. Meeting Layla (Natalie DP) brings an excitement to his life. But her work at a women’s centre puts her in the middle of a potential scandal relating to a non-profit who claim to possess the ability to stop the suicide wave. Romeo must confront his past, as well as his present, as he decides whether he will take a role in the betterment of the city.

 

Bloody Romeo is an ambitious, feature-length drama directed by and starring Mukesh Asopa which unfortunately fails to juggle its multiple storylines or tell them in a manner that engages viewers. The film starts well, with dynamic and striking portrayals of people struggling with suicidal thoughts – establishing the harrowing consequences of the story’s premise. But these are gradually reduced in favour of boardroom meeting scenes and unconvincing discussions around the suicide epidemic, which lack anywhere near the same impact. Similarly, viewers never get much of a sense that the relationship between Romeo and Layla is the life-changing courtship we are told it is. The sombre tone of the film overtakes what should be positive and livening scenes between the two.

 

None of this is helped either by a confusing plot which fails to fully explain and establish the character’s relationships or roles, despite an abundance of expository dialogue. The poorly defined aims of the antagonistic and sinister non-profit organisation which much of the film’s drama revolves around is just one example of the plot’s opaqueness, and the introduction of fantastical elements such as mass hypnosis muddies this even further.

 

The film does excel when it focuses on its core characters – particularly Romeo, who is presented as a conflicted and complex character confronted with morally difficult decisions throughout the film. The film also demonstrates Layla’s passion for helping others, and the director is successful at demonstrating why this would rub off on Romeo even if other elements of their relationship are left unexplored. It is a shame that the film does not place more emphasis on the character development, especially given its unnecessary 2-hour runtime.

 

Acting is largely wooden and there is little chemistry amongst the cast. Mukesh Asopa succeeds as the dark and broody Romeo, but beyond this there are far too many awkward deliveries of the clunky and expository dialogue which break audience immersion. The cast lack the ability to portray the bonds their characters are meant to share, such as the close friendship between Romeo and Orion (Richard Cole) or the central love story between Romeo and Layla.

 

The film is well-framed and includes some impressive staging of set-pieces, particularly in its closing scenes. Unfortunately, too much of the story is told in a manner that is inherently visually uninteresting – and no amount of production can make endless phone calls and boardroom discussions engaging to the audience. The soundtrack is nice and creates an intense atmosphere, although there are some noticeable drops in sound quality for the dialogue.

 

For what could have been an interesting twist on a time-worn tale, Bloody Romeo is filled with too many tiresome scenes and bloated plot to really get its teeth into the good stuff. It has its moments, but a significant edit would have allowed these to shine so much more.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film, World Cinema, Film Festival