Baz Luhrmann

Romeo + Juliet, Revisited

It's been almost fifteen years since director Baz Luhrmann re-made Romeo and Juliet. I loved it at the time, but didn't realize how prescient it was. Although it was made in the nineties, and was supposed to be about Europe, I realize it looks a lot like the Americas in 2010.
The re-make takes place in a vaguely Latin-ate place of neon crucifixes and low-riders. The technical scene is Italy, but barons get around in private helicopters as they do in Sao Paolo, and shirtless, aimless twenty-somethings hang out on the beach as they do in Miami or Los Angeles. Gangsters sport the Virgen de Guadalupe on their vests, and walk around in silver-spurred boots.
The Romeo + Juliet world looks like Shakespeare's, but with a charged,  electro-twist:

The word "Catholic" means universal. This scenario is now universal throughout our hemisphere: feuding families monopolizing cities, from New Jersey to Nuevo Leon. Maybe in Shakespeare's time feuding families traded other goods, but in the post-Bush, pre-Santos Americas, the Capulet - Montague feud just looks like two warring drug cartels.

If the Church was what "universalized" our hemisphere 500 years ago, are drugs our new church? Is cocaine the new communion?