Saturday, December 23, 2017

Movie #440: Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! is a jukebox musical directed Baz Luhrman and starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Richard Roxburgh, Jim Broadbent, and Caroline O'Connor.

In 1900, we meet Christian (McGregor), wallowing in misery in the ruins of the Bohemian revolution in Paris. He flashes back to the previous year when he arrived in Paris to immerse himself in the culture and write about love, and is immediately recruited by Toulous-Latrec (Leguizamo) to write a musical called Spectacular Spectacular for the proprietor of the Moulin Rouge bordello/club. Christian, through a series of wacky misunderstandings and deceptions, winds up falling in love with the show's star, Satine (Kidman), and then helping her and the owner Zidler (Broadbent) into duping a rich Duke (Roxburgh) into bankrolling the show. The Duke's price is the deed to the theater, and ownership of Satine.

Christian and Satine continue their affair as rehearsals go on, but it's obvious that Satine is ill (she keeps coughing up blood), and Zidler pushes her to drive Christian away in order to save him from the Duke. In the end, though, love wins out and they drive the Duke away and affirm their love...right before Satine dies of consumption in his arms.

So, it's a tragedy, then, but it's a Luhrman tragedy, with bright lights and rock numbers (the first time I saw it, I thought "man, if they don't use "The Show Must Go On," that's a missed opportunity" and guess what they did). McGregor and Kidman are beautiful as the doomed couple, and both of them can sing. Broadbent is by turns selfish, clever, and kind as the opportunistic Zidler, and Roxburgh is a total slimeball as the Duke. The visuals are fantastic, the costume and production design are gorgeous. It's fun to listen to McGregor's accent slip sometimes, too.

My Grade: A
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Mr. & Mrs. Smith