Christian [Ewan McGregor] a young writer with a magical gift for poetry defies his bourgeois father by moving to the bohemian underworld of Montmartre Paris. He is taken in by the absinthe- soaked artist Toulouse- Lautrec whose party- hard life centres around the Moulin Rouge a world of sex drugs electricity & the shocking Can-Can. Christian falls into a passionate but ultimately doomed love affair with Satine the Sparkling Diamond [Nicole Kidman] the most beautiful courtesan in Paris & star of the Moulin Rouge...
Moulin Rouge- DVD Review
Moulin Rouge is one of the most comprehensive and expertly crafted pieces of film media I have seen to date. It's three main elements of stylish scripting, expert acting and simply masterful music are all done with an elegance that only a true master's hand can craft. Released in 2001 it was most definetely the most popular and successful of director Baz Luhrmann's "Red Curtain Trilogy." It utilises the Verfremsdung effect well and is coated with beautifully composed music that captured the nation, this combined with a riveting storyline was a sure recipe for success.
The story is set in 1899 at the time of the French Revolution, a young writer Christian (Ewan Mcgregor) has come from England to find himself and take part in the Bohemian styled event. He defies his father in doing so and becomes a writer for a group of performers at the renowned night club: the Moulin Rouge. A hub of the dark underworld where the rich & the poor alike go to be entertained by female dancers. He becomes involved with the clubs star Courtesan: Satine (Nicole Kidman.) However she is currently being courted by a rich & powerful Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who has promised funding for the club in exchange for her "services." Thus the love affair grows ever more dangerous and strenuous for the pair as Christian struggles with seeing Satine with other men, not helped either by the club owner's (Jim Broadbent) intent to split them up to ensure the club receives the aforementioned funding. Finally it comes to the point where Satine is forced to break Christians heart to keep her job, banishing Christian from the club. However in a final performance he reappears to claim her hand, in front of the Duke himself. However after having successfully done so Satine collapses dramatically into Christian's arms and dies from a terminal condition leaving Christian heartbroken.
An ultimately sad tale, however is all performed excellently. Jim Broadbent steals the screen when he appears with his booming voice and varied acting that encompasses so many emotions so well. Nicole Kidman also performs well here although not at her best it is fine acting. The real standout for me is Ewan Mcgregor in what I personally think is his best work. He so well shows his character and rather than merely a performance I feel this was an evolution for him. The use of the verfremsdung effect is also prominent in this film which influences all of the actors' styles. This is where the film is designed to remind you that it is in fact a film, to prevent the audience being too absorbed into the diegesis. It is well done and a signpost of Luhrmann's work. The quirky style that emanates from it obviously appealed due to the film's success.
Finally- but most importantly- the music. This is a key point of the film, it is wonderfully composed and is one of the best official soundtracks I have ever heard for a film. Composed by Craig Armstrong it captures all of the emotion of the film using a variety on instruments culminating into an album that is a true joy to listen too. The soundtrack could have it's own review it is that good! The Album has sold thousands of copies and Moulin Rouge is still remembered today for it's music. I even have a copy on my Ipod and it has served as inspiration for my own musical endeavours. Favourites such as the low bassy "show must go on" and the "Elephant Love melody" are true stand outs for me.
Overall this is a movie on a wide scope, encompassing stylistic wrting and a excellent cast but taking it's musical side to a whole other level. Resulting in the film's sound track being it's very own product. In my opinion this a must watch for all.
Baz Lurhman's cult classic and the last of his loosely linked 'Red Curtain Trilogy' (along with 'Strictly Ballroom' and 'Romeo +Juliet') 'Moulin Rouge' is an unashamedly camp, gaudy and exuberant attempt to revive the musical.
At the turn of the 19th century, hapless young writer; Christian (Ewan McGregor) seeks out a bohemian lifestyle in France: falls for stunning courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman), works with Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) and becomes embroiled in the sinister shenanigans of the titular Parisian brothel. Nicole Kidman, usually a tiresome and repetitive performer, breathes life into the enigmatic ecdysiast and makes Satine her most memorable character since Grace Stewart in 'The Others'.
OTT romantic melodrama at its best, 'Moulin Rouge' isn't quite as entertaining or inventive as 'Romeo + Juliet' but deserves a lot of credit as act of cinematic bravado; one that goes all out in a vibrant, dazzling display of energy and colour. Not a film you can watch very often, as it's a testament to style over substance and the kitschy décor / overacting begins to grate past the one hour mark, yet for what it is; 'Moulin Rouge' is a resounding success and one of the most original films of the last decade.
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