Moulin Rouge is a musical, obviously, so that should instantly tell you something about what it's about! I'll give you a hint. What is the one thing that is a universal underlying theme in musicals? What drives the story of them all?
LOVE, you tosser! Moulin Rouge is about love! Love of art, music, fun, and each other! The specific love story here concerns Christian, a penniless British writer obsessed with love, and Satine, the star of the most banggin' night club in all of Paris, the Moulin Rouge! Their romance is brought about through a really convenient case of mistaken identity, but soon grows to a relationship for the ages! As Christian writes a play for the club to perform, he and Satine must contend with the eccentricities of their fellow artists and the advances and machinations of the evil Duke, who seeks to make Satine his own!
Ok, yeah, I know! A little cliched. It's a musical! Cliched is a part of the fun! So, it's the same story we've seen a bazillion times, but it's a very well told version of it, with relatable characters that we can easily root for and believe in. Christian and Satine's relationship is simply beautiful!
Other performances include John Leguizamo, a righteous hoot as the verbally challenged, comically short Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jim Broadbent, hamming it up as Harold Zidler, the owner of the Moulin Rouge, and Richard Roxburgh as the villainous, but clueless, Duke!
Performances are universally excellent, but McGregor and Kidman steal the show out from everyone's noses! They are the clear focus of the story, and are more than up to the task of carrying the movie!
|Come What May|
Director Baz Lurhman has traditionally annoyed me in the past! I wasn't the biggest fan of Romeo + Juliet, and I flat out hated Australia! That being said, what he has done with Moulin Rouge is nothing short of genius! He doesn't just make a movie musical; he makes a fucking musical experience! He fills each shot with so much color and movement that it is almost unrecognizable as a film! It's more akin to a theme park ride! Thankfully, he keeps the scale and story at a human level, and keeps the focus always on the characters! He carefully balances the film with a balls to the wall musical orgasm one minute, and then a quiet, humane moment the next! It really works!
And then, there's the music! Oh boy, the music! Not very much of it was written specifically for the film; a lot of are mash-ups or reimagining of modern classics. There's a truly inspired love medley that combines the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie, U2, Kiss, and others, an absolutely beautiful rendition of Elton John's "Your Song", and a haunting tango set to The Police's "Roxanne". Some songs, like the absolutely wonderful "Come What May" were written specifically for the film, and stand out, but the highlights come from seeing classics from the last twenty years being performed in pre-war Paris! It's impossible to not get a kick out of a bunch of tuxedoed gents dancing in sync to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Lurhman also acts the part of smart director when it comes to the music! He carefully balances out the numbers, so that some are your traditionally sombre ballads, while some are just flat out hilarious! This is possibly the best example of how to use music from today in period piece! Take notes A Knight's Tale!
Lurhman has reinvented the cinematic musical with Moulin Rouge! In an age where movie musicals are all sad sack Broadway adaptations or something involving Hannah Montana, at least we have something like this fall back on! I honestly can't believe I put off seeing this film until now! I had no idea what I was missing!
On A Whole New Level