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Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge (Soundtrack)
Moulin Rouge II (ORIGINAL film Version Soundtrack)

Moulin Rouge Review

Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo and Richard Roxburgh.

Nominated for 8 Academy Awards. Check out our Academy Award 2002 Nomination Page here!

Be forewarned: This movie is about Truth, Beauty, Freedom and above all Love. For shame, in the year 2001 to make these things the backbone of a movie?

I don't usually like musicals, in fact, musicals and utter crap usually go hand in hand in my opinion. Some exceptions? Singing In The Rain (Best Musical Ever Made Bar None!), Grease, Little Shop of Horrors and for some reason I can not bring myself to hate Hair though I have tried. I can now add Moulin Rouge to the short list, a fact I feel assured of after having seen this film now three times in the theatre and still feel nothing but joy after having watched it.

I went in with nothing less than a feeling of fear that this was going to be such an overblown fiasco ala Everyone Says I Love You that I must say a pleasant surprise is a massive understatement. By the way, this is less a review than an ongoing praise fest. I should be ashamed but after some of the films and harsh reviews I have had to see and hand out over the years, a slip up like this is bound to happen every once in awhile.

Note: If by the first five minutes you are thinking to yourself it better pick up or I am out of here...leave. It does get better but if you haven't enjoyed the first five, the remaining 2 hours runs along the same razor line.
From the opening frames, even during the traditional 20th Century Fox Reel, you are in the movie, and an attack of MTV editing is about to explode in front of you. The first half hour is so frantically paced that one might wonder if any plot is actually registering. Then it happens, the pace slows and you realize you have just been handed the bare bones of the entire story and all you have to do is be a bouncing ball and follow along.

The story is the structure upon which the musical numbers hang and while not exactly the strongest apparatus it does do the job. Christian (Ewan McGregor) is a young writer with a knack for poetry. He defies his bourgeois father by moving to the bohemian underworld of Montmartre, Paris, where he is taken in by the absinthe-soaked artist Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo). Christian will write a play that will make Satine (Nicole Kidman), the most beautiful courtesan in Paris and headliner of the Moulin Rouge, a true actress. Of course they fall into a forbidden love...forbidden thanks to The Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who is financing the new show that is to make Satine a star, and his property.

Both Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are stand outs in their roles but the true joy of Moulin Rouge is watching Jim Broadbent (playing the owner of the Moulin Rouge, Harry Zidler). So over the top without ever approaching annoying it is amazing how much fun he is to watch. The real talent in Broadbent stems from wondering how he plays a seemingly seedy and despicable character with so much heart and twisted charm.

John Leguizamo plays the demented comic relief in the form of real life figure Toulouse-Latrec. His Toulouse is a wobbling, caring and addle minded artist who seems constantly soaked in sweat and exhaustion.

I have my own nit-picky reasons for slapping at the film, one of which is the re-vamping of The Police's Roxanne. While it seems to fit into the film it does not come off with the charm of other efforts as Madonna's Like A Virgin or the fifteen interwoven love songs in The Elephant Medley.

But in the end, as drummed into you by young Christian, this movie is about Truth, Beauty, Freedom and above all Love. Point in fact, these are the themes of the artist and if they sometimes fail to come across in Moulin Rouge, at least Baz has reminded us of them and done it in a spectacular way.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Disc 1:
Production Commentary by Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Don McAlpine
Writing Commentary by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
8 Behind The Scenes Branches

Disc 2: The Making Of Moulin Rouge HBO Special
5 "Star" Featurettes
Earlier Drafts Of Screenplay
6 Extended Scenes
4 Re-Cut Dance Sequences
Interview with John "Cha Cha" O'Connell and Caroline O'Conner
Dance Pre-Shoots
3 Multi-Angle Dance Sequences
2 Music Videos
Live MTV Performance
Design and Marketing Gallery
Over 10 Easter Eggs

Video: Widescreen 1.85:1

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

The DVD Review:
A 2 Disc set that does justice to the movie! I am still working my way through this disc set and will have a complte review in a few days but I just wanted to let you know that if you are thinking about buying this set, do it. Finally another director following the lead of David Fincher and making a complete disc set that delivers as much as is promised.

The choreography and extended dance sequences with the multi-camera viewpoint is both fascinating to watch on it's own and from a technical standpoint as one catches all the little things that have been trimmed to make each scene flow.

Evil Ash

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