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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Ride The Moulin Rouge!
By Jeffrey R. Griffith

If 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.

Image Courtesy of Fox Entertainment Group

With 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.

Image Courtesy of
Fox Entertainment Group
Did 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.

Aside 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.

Image Courtesy of
Fox Entertainment Group
Such 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 And for more high-kicking, corset-wearing burlesque thrills, check out the feature on the modern burlesque revival in the latest issue of ATOMIC!

Behind in your reading?
Check out past ATOMIC features.

Dear Dottie
1999 Articles List
2000 Articles List
2001 Articles List
2002 Articles List
2003 Articles List
2004 Article List
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