Sunday, April 9, 2017

Moulin Rouge

Movie Name: Moulin Rouge
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, John Leguizamo, Garry McDonald, Kerry Walker, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Natalie Mendoza, Kylie Minogue, David Wenham, Lara Mulcahy, Natalie Mendoza, Christine Anu
Genre: Musical, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Australian director Baz Luhrmann followed his successful William Shakespeare adaptation of "Romeo and Julie" with a full blown musical (something he had previously tackled with "Strictly Ballroom"). "Moulin Rouge" follows the story of young Christian, an idealistic English writer, who lives in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. He loves the bohemian life, and that is best represented by the club "Moulin Rouge". When visiting the club, he is drawn to the beautiful courtesan Satine, the biggest star of the cast. Unbeknown to him however, she is promised to a rich investor, who is also visiting the club. The investment of this man is crucial to the longevity and existence of the club. These two young lovers however, can't be apart and will overcome all obstacles to pursue their relationship.
Director Baz Luhrmann has a specific aesthetic and formal style that at times marries perfectly with the material and produce great films, which was the case of "The Great Gatsby" and "Romeo and Juliet". On other occasions, the stylistic approach overcomes the tenuous storyline, and the film falls prey of decorativism, with the characters becoming puppets that showcase his love of pop music and over the top visuals. "Moulin Rouge" is a hybrid of both of his trends - in the pursuit of creating a classic romantic feature, Lurhmann creates a film that is excessive, visually opulent (almost garish at times), but one with heart and a genuine love of films. The film ends up faltering on defining fully dimensional characters, but it does manage to create a fully artificial interpretation of the bohemian world of Paris at the turn of the century. The cast tries their best to bring these characters to life, particularly Jim Broadbent who is, as always, fantastic. The cinematography from Donald McAlpine is stunning, as is the score from Craig Armstrong. An uneven feature from an interesting voice in films.