Movie Review: Moulin Rouge (2001)

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Ok, so ‘Moulin Rouge‘ isn’t exactly a recent film.  In fact, it’s about 12 years old now .. amazing how time flies.

Moulin Rouge posterI was home on a dreary Sunday afternoon/evening and was bored of listening to music on Spotify and playing Bejeweled on Facebook, so decided I’d watch a movie.

Now that I think about, I don’t recall why I picked this particular movie on that particular afternoon.. I’ve seen ‘Moulin Rouge’ way too many times to count (love me a good musical hahaha), and hadn’t thought about it in years.

Whatever, doesn’t really matter because it allowed me to remember just how damn good this movie was and still is to this day.

Sure, this movie had some straight up covers like ‘Your Song’, ‘Lady Marmalade’, and ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’.  But looking back, this movie seems to be the precursor to the ‘mash-up’ craze that’s been made so popular recently by ‘Glee’.

Don’t believe me?  Rewatch/relisten to the performance of ‘El Tango De Roxanne‘, probably one of the most powerful performances in the entire movie, which gave everyone a different perspective on Sting’s song ‘Roxanne’.

Moulin-Rouge-nicole-kidman-750637_1600_900Or the ‘Elephant Love Medley’ (part near the beginning where Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are on top of the elephant, and decide to become lovers), which strings together 10 different famous songs about love.

After all these years though, my favorite scene is still the ‘Like A Virgin’ duet between Jim Broadbent (who’s vocals were dubbed by an opera singer for this number) and the fantastic Richard Roxburgh (‘The Duke’), with the latter channeling an eerily accurate Vincent Price impression towards the end of the song.

Moulin Rouge - Richard RoxburghHowever I do think the one performance that generally goes unnoticed or dismissed is from John Leguizamo.  I think his performance as Toulouse-Lautrec was outstanding, even if it was mostly played for the comedy of the character.  But there were moments of pure drama that you wouldn’t normally associate with the actor.

Also, did you know he did a lot of the scenes while kneeling or wearing blue-screen socks so they could erase his legs?  He’s actually 5’8″, and was playing someone shorter than 4’11”.

Surprisingly though, the trailer for the movie is absolutely crap and looks like it’s advertising a completely different movie.  Good thing I’m still a big Baz Luhrmann fan.  🙂

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5 thoughts on “Movie Review: Moulin Rouge (2001)

  1. musicMagpie

    Great review, consider yourself followed! You’re right about the trailer, if people decided whether or not to see it based on that alone then nobody would of gone to watch it!

  2. One of, if not my favorite musical of all-time and proves to me that Ewan McGregor is more than just a pretty face. He’s got that and can sing his ass off too! Great review.

  3. This is a story about life. And about the artists who congregated in Paris in 1900, living a bohemian lifestyle and giving the world the fruits of their labor, of their art, for which they would gladly bleed and die. But mostly this is a story about love. Of a young man named Christian, a penniless writer, and a singer named Satine, who for a moment came together and tasted the nectar of the gods. `Moulin Rouge,’ written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, takes you into a world that is bright and brilliant, fast and flashy and filled with all of the things that make life worth living. It’s a fantasy world of song and color, of soaring hearts and aspirations– but also of the reality upon which the illusion of it all is built. And the effects of that reality on Christian and Satine, whose love has been forbidden by that same reality they seek to dispel by impaling it with the artistic endeavors that give them life.

    If Disney had commissioned a film to be written by Shakespeare, directed by Fellini and produced by Spielberg, this would be it. It’s a dizzying, whirling burst of lights, colors, music, drama and comedy that assails the senses and will hold you spellbound from beginning to end. Like the bohemians he portrays, Luhrmann leaves convention behind and dips instead into his own inspired and highly imaginative formula to tell his story. The cinematography (by Donald McAlpine) and art direction (by Ann-Marie Beauchamp and Ian Gracie) are brilliant, as well as the production design (by Catherine Martin) and the sets (by Brigitte Broch). One of the many inspired touches Luhrmann employs here, is the use of different film speeds throughout, which, when combined with the superlative, quick-cut editing (by Jill Bilcock), makes it all transporting and surreal.

    Ewan McGregor turns is a terrific performance as Christian, the young man who arrives in Paris with nothing more than spirit and a head filled with ideas and ideals. When artistic differences leaves Zidler (Jim Broadbent), proprietor of the Moulin Rouge, without a writer for a new show, `Spectacular, Spectacular,’ Christian steps in. And so does McGregor, who shines in the part. And the boy can sing! He may not have the greatest voice in the world, but it’s a good `stage voice,’ and most importantly, he can sell a song, as evidenced by the scene in which he puts across Elton John’s `Your Song.’ McGregor has a charismatic screen presence, and in this role he really gets a chance to demonstrate his versatility as an actor.

    As Satine, Nicole Kidman is saucy and sensuous, bringing her character vividly to life, this woman who makes her living by being every man’s fantasy as she sings and sashays her way through this world of the Moulin Rouge. In her heart, she longs to be a serious actress, and if this new show is a success, she just may get her chance. But first, the show needs someone to finance the lavish production. They may have one– the Duke of Worcester (Richard Roxburgh), has expressed interest, but he has one condition. If he pays for the show he wants something in return (besides a profit on his investment). He wants Satine. But so does Christian, who has nothing to offer the show but his talent, and nothing for Satine but his love. Zidler, meanwhile, aware of the Duke’s demands, urges Satine to turn her back on Christian, to `save him.’ And beyond and besides all that is happening, there is something else going on with Satine, something more personal, that ultimately will have an effect on the outcome of the dilemma for all concerned.

    The supporting cast includes John Leguizamo (Toulouse Lautrec), Kylie Minogue (The Green Fairy), Garry McDonald (Doctor), Jacek Koman (The Narcoleptic Argentinean), Matthew Whittet (Satie), Kerry Walker (Marie) and Laszlo Lukas (Conductor). With an eye for detail and his imagination thrust into overdrive, Luhrmann has put together and delivered one of the brightest films to come along in quite awhile. `Moulin Rouge’ is an explosion of sights and sounds, a film laced with humor and visual largess that holds a poignant and dramatic story at it’s heart. Entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable, this is a memorable film and a satisfying movie-going experience. It’s a story about love; a story told through the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.

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