Moulin Rouge (2001) 20th Century Fox Pictures
2 hrs. 07 mins.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent and John Leguizamo.
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

Moulin Rouge



Photo: 20th Century Fox

With an array of dizzying visuals, cutthroat editing and outlandish and frenetic camera movement, Director Baz Luhrman delivers a brash and stylish modern-day musical. ‘Moulin Rouge’ is an experience within itself that contains an original and organic storytelling technique that encompasses the viewer in lights, visuals and music. Director Baz Luhrmann opens this film in an ‘in- your- face’ manner and seems to never let go except when he wants to underline and convey emotion in this film. The rest of the time is spent experimenting with the lighting, framing his film in an elegant manner and basically bringing the viewer on an ‘eye-candy’ joy ride that is superseded with its’ elegant and engaging romantic story.

At the turn of the new Millennium in 1899, a Paris ‘bordello’, the Moulin Rouge is home to a host of diverse and intriguing characters that convene every night for one sole purpose – Sex. This film makes no mistake at masquerading its’ sensuality which is portrayed by an appropriately titled character; Satine. Nicole Kidman exudes her sex appeal as the Moulin’s main attraction as she completely invigorates this film with her beauty matched by her soothing voice.

Ewan McGregor is Christian, who through a case of mistaken identity becomes acquainted with the slim and curvy Satine and thus in turn becomes infatuated with this woman leading to a relationship between the two. As they both fall madly in love with each other, their relationship; if exposed can ruin their collective efforts in a huge theatrical production they are both creating. As Christian writes the piece and places Satine as his main character, their relationship catches the eye of the production’s financier who has been attempting to woo the seductress. As conflict arises, music gets louder, characters get brassier and the film leapfrogs from moments of absolute musical genius with their dance sequences to a romantic drama as two star-crossed lovers must choose their fate.

The film is an exercise in what I have coined ‘exhaustive entertainment’; which doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad thing. The term refers to the film’s myriad of elements thrown into a two-hour opulent piece that by the end of the film, the discerning viewer has had more than his fair share in visual astonishment. Some harsh critics might criticize the film for being too frenetic and escapist – and perhaps that was exactly the intention; but it is still a great piece of film.

The film contains a superb supporting cast including Richard Roxburgh as the insanely jealous financier and Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler, the larger than life owner of the underground establishment which seems to be the center of convention for the French Elitists in this strange yet crude subculture. And who can forget John Leguizamo, as the midget Tolouse-Latrec, Christian’s friend and ally against an over-ruling Financier.

It is evident that one’s taste will either be indulged or turned sour after the first 30 minutes. Luhrman sets the film in a dizzying manner that it seems to extract itself from the opening musical sequence that has completely reinvented the manner in which musicals will be seen in the future. With the wild imagery and progressive sexual innuendo, this film is a testament to how a vision can be so strongly brought to the screen in an appeasing manner.

With strong performances, vivid filmmaking and absolutely stunning cinematography, this film is a definite must-see, if not for the film’s aesthetic, for the modern-day music revivals that compliment this film. From Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ sequence that still in my eyes is the movie’s best scene, to U2’s ‘In the Name of Love’ sung in a formidable manner that brings truth to this ballad. This film completes itself on so many levels and is purely a great cinematic experience.

Click here to comment on this review or post your own thoughts.

Giancarlo De Lisi


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