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MOULIN ROUGE (R)
20th Century Fox
Official Site
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Producers: Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann, Fred Baron
Written by: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh

Rating: See below for individual ratings


Take 1:

MOULIN ROUGE is a feast for the senses, visually opulent and musically inspired. The wisp of a storyline (doomed cabaret dancer must choose between the poor writer whom she loves and the rich duke who can make her a real actress) is but an excuse to move from one eye-popping scene to the next. The movie uses well-known songs ranging the gamut from “The Sound of Music” to “Like a Virgin” to witty and devasting effect in both dialogue and lavish musical numbers, and catching all the musical references is a joy unto itself. The costumes, sets, and cinematography come together to create explosions of color and light; expect MOULIN ROUGE to win many awards in these areas.

Nicole Kidman does a remarkable job of singing and performing in this movie, as does the versatile Ewan McGregor.

Unfortunately, I fear that many like myself will find themselves fidgeting in their seats because there is not much that actually happens in this film. At just about two hours in length, watching MOULIN ROUGE is like going to the ballet or the opera. If you can appreciate something for the artistic achievement that it is, then you will enjoy this movie.

Note: I have given MOULIN ROUGE three stars, not because I think the movie taken as a whole is that good, but because, taking the HYBRID rating system literally, if you have any intention of seeing this movie, you should definitely see it in the theatre on the big screen to do MOULIN ROUGE justice.

Rating: out of 5

—Sandhya Shardanand


Take 2:

It’s refreshing to find a film that stands tall on its own despite the efforts of a hype machine in overdrive. Likely, you’ve been bombarded by the intense commercials, the soon-to-be-overplayed songs, and that frightening video featuring Pink, Li’l Kim, Mya, and Christina Aguilera doing “Lady Marmalade.” The ad campaign is designed to bring in a young audience who will probably love the movie, but not for the reasons they expect.

If you liked Baz Luhrmann’s last film, ROMEO + JULIET, you will most likely love MOULIN ROUGE. It’s the same techniques amped up six notches and turned into an opera. Yes, it’s not just a musical, it’s an opera. Fully half of the dialogue is sung, not spoken, and a good three-quarters of that is familiar song lyrics. If the concept of musicals sends you screaming for the hills with visions of sickly-sweet comedy and excessively cheesy love songs, you have nothing to fear. The combination of MOULIN ROUGE and the August release of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH makes 2001 the year musicals came of age. Sexy, intelligent, visually marvelous, and with ample humor (I laughed out loud wh

The production designers created an opulent world so visually exciting that only vivid performances by the entire cast keep them from being overwhelmed by their surroundings. Jim Broadbent, as theatre owner Harry Zidler, lets loose all of the energy he pent up so brilliantly in TOPSY TURVY and almost steals the show. The Duke of Monroth, played by Richard Roxburgh, walks the treacherous path between true menace and cartoon villainy brilliantly, and his rendition of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” will give you nightmares for weeks.

Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman imbue their fairy-tale love story with such a sense of honesty (all the while singing and speaking Elton John lyrics), that we fall in love with them too, even knowing from the start that all of the sweet glances, the glitz, and the glamour still lead to tragedy.

On a few occasions, MOULIN ROUGE suffers from the same pacing problems that hurt ROMEO + JULIET. The most important song, “Come What May,” by David Baerwald, lacks the familiar punch of the rest of the soundtrack, and those of you who want to see a “Lady Marmalade” dance number will get a terrifically choreographed performance that shares the same musical themes, but showcases Miss Aguilera’s voice not at all.

If these small quibbles keep you away, it’s your loss. For the rest of the world, MOULIN ROUGE offers a marvelous fantasy cum morality tale that is pure media decadence. See it on the biggest screen you can find, several times, and beat with sticks the fools who think they should just “wait for the video.”

Rating: out of 5

—Reed Oliver

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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