Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Above all things, this story is about love.

The Moulin Rouge. A nightclub, a dance hall, and a bordello... A kingdom of nighttime pleasures where the rich played with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld.

The last film of director Baz Luhrman's Red Curtain Trilogy had its wide release premiere exactly 10 years ago today after being out in limited number of theaters for two weeks. That film is Moulin Rouge! and it is one of my all-time favorite films.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Taking place in the turn of the 20th century Paris, the film features a young penniless writer (Christian) played by Ewan McGregor and a beautiful courtesan (Satine) played by Nicole Kidman who both fall in love amidst the crazy trappings of the Moulin Rouge, the idealistic notions of the Bohemian artists, and the sinister intentions of the Duke. Did I mention that it's also a musical? And it's a grand one at that with chock full of anachronistic, yet impeccably chosen pop music accompanied by lush and eye-popping production numbers and choreography.

There was a boy. A very strange and enchanted boy...

This film was the first time I had ever seen McGregor in anything so I always associate this film with him. Truth be told, just as Satine fell for him almost at first sight (or at first listen to be more accurate), I too fell for McGregor's sensitive and romantic Christian. McGregor provided a much-needed grounded quality to the whole film. Of course there's Nicole Kidman who is just fabulous here. As amazing an actress she has been even before and after this film, Satine is still probably my favorite role of hers. She made me laugh out loud as she overly got turned on by Christian's "poetry reading" and then made me sob in the end lying lifeless on that stage. It was truly a tour de force multifaceted performance that I still can't believe didn't win her an Academy Award.

Similarly, I was impressed by the great mixing of slapstick comedy and heart-wrenching drama in the film. Who didn't smile at Satine trying to hide Christian from the Duke or laugh uncontrollably at the "Like A Virgin" performance? In the same vein, who was left breathless by the "Roxanne" tango number or heart-ached when Christian confronted Satine on stage near the end?

We're creatures of the underworld. We can't afford to love.

And I haven't even mentioned all of the other great supporting actors in the cast like John Leguizamo as Toulouse Latrec, Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler, and Richard Roxburgh as The Duke. All three, like Kidman and McGregor, had to go from outlandish to serious throughout the film. The arresting score, the extravagant costumes, the confident cinematography, the masterful editing, the intricate sets, the cast of hundreds, the trippy visual effects... I can go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea.

Now all of the images above are just a few of my favorites from the film. I'm withholding one particular shot, my favorite, which I'm saving for its own post later today.

1 comment:

  1. LOVELY post on one of my fave movies of all time. You're right Ryan, it's amazing how Luhrmann can combine slapstick humor and deep pathos in a film, AND still have all the things you want in a musical. That Tango de Roxanne leaves me breathless every time, it's such an astounding scene!


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