The Moulin Rouge!
By Jeffrey R. Griffith
you love rollercoasters, get ready for the thrill and exhilaration
of Moulin Rouge, where music, color, dancing, costuming, acting
and singing are cleverly twisted by an editorís brilliance, righted
again into severe belly laughter and then turned 180 degrees into
total lunacy, leaving viewers caught up in a storybook romance.
Simply put, Moulin is a barrage to the senses: You will laugh,
you will weep, and you will love it.
Courtesy of Fox Entertainment Group
his latest high-octane offering, director Baz Luhrmann
(Romeo & Juliet, Strictly Ballroom) deftly creates a magical
world that makes The Matrix look way too serious for itself.
The story unfolds in 1899, where the slithering bohemian
underworld in the Montmarte section of Paris entertain
the French elite. The Moulin Rouge nightclub is run by
the fat, money-hungry Zidler, brilliantly portrayed by
Jim Broadbent (also the father in Bridget Jonesí Diary),
who is part pimp and part showman. His queen prostitute/courtesan/performer
is the beautiful Satine (Nicole Kidman), supported by
the eclectic female whores/dancers of the Moulin, all
seductively adorned in corsets, fishnet stockings and
Ďunderthings.í Her true love is the penniless poet, Christian,
masterfully played by Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode
I, Trainspotting). He is rivaled by the man who will provide
Zidler with needed investments for the club: The Duke
(Richard Roxburgh, of Mission Impossible II), who asks
for Satine as his collateral and begs for her love and
respect. However, she falls quickly for the penniless
poet, who recites music lyrics to win her heart.
I mention that they frequently break into song? The original numbers
are superbly blended into the storyódonít worry, Christina Aguilera
doesnít make an appearanceóand the dance hits from the 1950s through
the 1990s fly through the movie like a well-timed freight train.
The soundtrack includes everything from "Diamonds Are A Girlís Best
Friend" to "Like a Virgin" to "Roxanne." (The latter segment alone
is the film editorís ticket to the Oscars.) Music from Elton John,
DeBarge, Fat Boy Slim, Patty LaBelle, Nirvana, David Bowie, Queen,
and even Kiss are also represented.But
the true surprise is hearing McGregor and Kidman sing. Once you
get over the initial shock of them bursting into song at any given
moment, you feel for their characters and the love that they share
for one another. Even the brilliant humor of John Leguziamo, as
the vertically-challenged Toulouse Lautrec, is hysterically brought
to light in his singing.
Fox Entertainment Group
from the score, the visual appeal of Moulin Rouge cannot be over-emphasized.
Those who appreciate retro clothing like a fine-aged wine will
be in awe. From Zidlerís impeccable spats and double-breasted
vests to the detailed boned corsets and flying transparent nightgowns
of Satine, and the vibrantly colorful costumes of the Can Can
girls, the wardrobe is a stylistís wet dream. And oh, the dancing...each
number is nonstop, over-the-top, and carefully choreographed down
to every heel-toe and tango hold.
gushing accolades may make the movie seem too good to be
true, but then again, I appreciate the old musicals of the
past and want them back. Moulin Rouge may be just the thing
to kick-start a lost art and introduce a new genre of films
outside of WWII sagas, big budget special effects flicks
and bad sequels. Itís pure entertainment from start to finish.
Donít let the critics decide whether you should see this
movie. Look for the lines around the block, take a seat,
and then hold on for a cinematic rollercoaster ride like
no other. The best part is, this trip lasts just over two
hours and has more than one big hill. The only thing missing
is Julie Andrews. Moulin
Rouge, rated PG-13, rolls out in theaters nationwide on
June 1. For more information and a fun, multimedia site,
go to www.clubmoulinrouge.com.
And for more high-kicking, corset-wearing burlesque thrills,
check out the feature on the modern burlesque revival in
the latest issue of ATOMIC!
Fox Entertainment Group