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Movie Reviews

Moulin Rouge  

The director of "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" (1996) and the
terribly overlooked "Strictly Ballroom" (1993) is back again with blazing
colors. This time, he sets his effervescent romanticism on the Moulin Rouge
and gives us a film so alive that it almost felt like I was doing the
can-can myself.

Christian (Ewan McGregor), a gifted writer with an idealistic outlook on
love, sets off for Montmartre, Paris despite his father's warnings of its
enticing decadence. He moves into a lowly tenement right across from the
notorious nightclub that is the Moulin Rouge, where girls do the naughty
can-can.and more. It is here where Christian befriends a dwarfish
Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo), who wants to put on a musical production
to further the Bohemian movement. He wants Christian to write it and have
the most beautiful and famous star of the Moulin Rouge, Satine (Nicole
Kidman), to play the lead. The ever-so-romantic Christian falls madly in
love with Satine, but things get complicated when the wealthy financial
backer of the production wants Satine for himself. Satine is torn between
the two, but like a true actress, she knows that the show must go on.
Moulin Rouge
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From the trailers, one would not think that "Moulin Rouge" is a comedy, but
in fact, most of the film is. Just as they did in "Romeo and Juliet",
Luhrmann and co-writer Craig Pierce adds a modern sensibility to the film,
and this is where a lot of the humor comes from. Where else can you hear a
Moulin Rouge crowd in 1900 sing and dance to the lyrics of Nirvana's "Smells
Like Teen Spirit", or the can-can girls singing to Patti La Belle's "Lady
Marmalade", or Christian serenading Satine in the words of Elton John's
"Your Song", or an out of the blue dance number to Madonna's "Like a
Virgin", which I'm sure that Madonna loved when they first showed it to her.
Only from the wacky minds of Luhrmann and Pierce would be the answer. I
was very much surprised how well this worked for the film, not only because
we knew the lyrics and could sing silently to ourselves, but also these
songs fit the situations perfectly. I was totally absorbed by the film's
amusing absurdity. There were original numbers written for the film, which
were also good, but it will be the ones that are recognized that will be

Then there is the cinematography, which can be compared to a Crayola box
exploding on screen. Colors are so vivid that Picasso would be jealous.
The film has a great look, which captures the liveliness of Moulin Rouge.
This is a truly vivacious movie, and it shows it proudly. The actual love
story is something that we have seen before in one form or another, but it
is this original presentation that makes it stand out.

Nicole Kidmas was great as the seducting Satine, and I also admired Ewan
McGregor's performance. Credit is to be given to anybody who can act just
as well as Kidman. The supporting cast was also great, especially John
Leguizamo, adding to the rich texture of the film

Despite a bit of a shaky start, "Moulin Rouge" regains control and maintains
it for the rest of the film. It is an enjoyable surprise that will make you
laugh and sing along. Go check out this movie if you can-can.


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