Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oscar Movie Review: "Moulin Rouge" (2001)

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Movie"Moulin Rouge!"
Year Nominated: 2002
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

performer at the Moulin Rouge is torn between the poor writer she loves and the wealthy Duke that can make all her dreams come true. 

"Moulin Rouge!" is directed by by Baz Luhrmann, who also wrote the film along with Craig Pearce. It stars Ewan McGregor as Christian, an English writer who moves to Paris to write about the Bohemian ideals of freedom, beauty, truth and above all things, love. Once there, after an odd incident involving a narcoleptic Argentinian, he meets Toulouse-Lautrec, played by John Leguizamo, and a group of Bohemians who are working on a new play called "Spectacular Spectacular." Christian shows he is just the piece they've been missing, and now with him on board, they hope to sell their show to Harold Zidler, played by Jim Broadbent, the owner of the Moulin Rouge, a night club with wild dancing, lavish costumes, and of course, courtesans. Joining them is Nicole Kidman, who plays Satine, the leading lady at the "Moulin Rouge" whom Christian hopes to convince to endorse their show. She, however, is meant to convince a wealthy Duke, played by Richard Roxburgh, to fund the conversion of the Moulin Rouge into a proper playhouse. Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke, setting off the wild series of events that follows. 

"Moulin Rouge!" is a spastic acid trip of both color and sound. The sets are beautiful and vibrant, and the costumes even more so, covered in ruffles, feathers, and diamonds. They are wonderfully designed, intricate, and awe-inspiring. In fact, the film took home an Oscar in both of those categories, both of which are well deserved. Baz Luhrmann definitely has a unique directorial style all his own. It is almost looks like a painting that has come to life. Some viewers will hate his style of filmmaking for being too busy and too jumbled, and others will love it for its ambition and different nature. The film is loaded with modern pop and rock songs that have been adapted to fit the narrative of the film, including but not limited to "Children of the Revolution" by T.Rex, "Your Song" by Elton John, "Like a Virgin" by Madonna, and "The Show Must Go On" by Queen. This creates a fun and distinct atmosphere to this somewhat oddball romance with very serious dramatic undertones.

Nicole Kidman does a brilliant job as Satine, a very complex character who is forced to choose between love and every material possession she has worked for and has ever wanted. Kidman received a best actress nomination at the Oscars for her role here, one of eight Academy Award nominations for the movie as a whole, which also included best picture. Though she was the only actor specifically recognized by the Academy, many of the other performances are great as well. Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, and Richard Roxburgh all put on stellar performances, some goofy, some serious, and some downright awesome. Each actor gets their chance to belt out a song or two, and McGregor really impressed us with his singing ability every time he opened his mouth to sing. He really is fantastic in this movie. Broadbent gets a few funnier singing moments in terms of how they are added into the plot of the film, and what Roxburgh does could be better described as talking in breathy, cadenced manner with a slight singing inflection.

"Moulin Rouge!" is a fun, energetic, and engaging film with tons of catchy songs to keep you entertained. It may be a good movie to watch while intoxicated or on drugs, but then again, you could just watch it normally and get the same effect. Don't do drugs, kids. We really love this movie, even though it doesn't seem like the typical kind of Oscar film because of its 'out there' artistic choices, but we're glad it existed in a time where it stood a chance.

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Last Oscar season, we were watching: "Beauty and the Beast"

Two Oscar seasons ago, we were watching: "Roman Holiday"

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