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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

In 1890 Paris, a struggling writer (Ewan McGregor) living in Montmartre meets a showgirl and courtesan (Nicole Kidman) at the Moulin Rouge music hall and falls in love. But she must string along a wealthy Duke (Richard Roxburgh) with false promises in order to get him to fund a show written by the writer.  An unholy mess!  A musical for people who hate musicals. Loosely based on Puccini's LA BOHEME and directed in a fevered frenzy by Baz Luhrmann. The idea of a contemporary LA BOHEME using a pastiche of well known contemporary pop songs is intriguing and full of possibilities. But Luhrmann's frantic pacing and substitution of silliness and vulgarity over wit and style undermines the film at almost every level. He teases us with the promise of a killer opening dance number, the can-can, but he refuses to let the dancers shine and strut their stuff, the camera and the editing do the dancing for them! His musical numbers assault us, Like A Virgin and Roxanne being the most egregious. Sometimes he takes mercy on us and allows the camera and the editor a rest and McGregor gets a chance to just sing Elton John's Your Song or Kidman singing One Day I'll Fly Away one gets the sense of what might have been. The acting isn't very good, Roxburgh is awful but somehow Kidman (in an Oscar nominated performance) cuts through all the crap and gives a real performance. With Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo, Jacek Koman and Kylie Minogue. 

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