July 1, 2022
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The Jets and the Sharks, a white teenage gang and their Puerto Rican antagonists, aren’t mirror photos of one another. Ostensibly contending for management over a couple of battered blocks within the West 60s, they collide like taxis rushing towards one another on a one-way road.

The Sharks are youngsters of an upwardly striving, migrant working class, a technology (or much less) faraway from principally rural poverty within the Caribbean and decided to discover a foothold within the imperial metropolis, the place they’re greeted with prejudice and suspicion. Bernardo (David Alvarez), their chief, is a boxer. His girlfriend, Anita (Ariana DeBose), works as a seamstress, whereas his youthful sister, Maria (Rachel Zegler), toils on the night time shift as a cleaner at Gimbels division retailer. Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), who Bernardo and Anita imagine could be a very good match for Maria, is a bespectacled future accountant. (However after all Maria falls for Tony, a reluctant Jet performed by the heartthrobby Ansel Elgort.) All of them have plans, aspirations, desires. The violence of the streets is, for Bernardo, a mandatory and non permanent evil, one thing to be overcome by exhausting work and communal cohesion on the best way to one thing higher.

The Jets, in contrast, are the bitter remnant of an immigrant cohort that has, for essentially the most half, moved on — to the Lengthy Island suburbs and the bungalows of Queens, to a share of postwar prosperity. Because the policemen Officer Krupke (Brian D’Arcy James) and Lieutenant Schrank (Corey Stoll) are available to clarify — and because the Jets themselves testify — these children are the product of household dysfunction and societal neglect. With out aspirations for the long run, they’re held collectively by clannish loyalty and racist resentment — an empty sense of white entitlement and a perpetually increasing catalog of grievances. Their nihilism is embodied by Riff (the rangy Mike Faist), the type of brawler who would fairly struggle than win.

Because the music says: “Life might be vivid in America/For those who can struggle in America.” However what lingers after this “West Side Story” is a darkness that appears to belong extra to our personal indignant, tribal second than to the (comparatively) optimistic ’50s or early ’60s. The heartbreak lands so closely as a result of the eruptions of pleasure are so heady. The large comedian and romantic numbers — “Tonight,” “America” and, sure, “I Really feel Fairly” — burst with shade and feeling, and the silliness of “Officer Krupke” cuts like an inside satire of a number of the present’s avowed liberal pieties.

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