Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Australia/USA, 2001. Twentieth Century Fox, Bazmark Films. Screenplay by Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce. Cinematography by Donald McAlpine. Produced by Fred Baron, Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann. Music by Craig Armstrong. Production Design by Catherine Martin. Costume Design by Catherine Martin, Angus Strathie. Film Editing by Jill Bilcock. Academy Awards 2001. American Film Institute Awards 2001. Cannes Film Festival 2001. National Board of Review Awards 2001. Online Film Critics Awards 2001. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2001. Toronto International Film Festival 2001.
Forcefully passionate, Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s third film drops you immediately into a carnivalesque world of magical and musical mayhem, telling the story of a young writer (Ewan McGregor) who decides to live the bohemian life in the Montmartre district of Paris. Rooming across the street from the famous Moulin Rouge, McGregor is drawn to the club by his curiousity to see the spectacles inside its decorated walls and to fulfil a job his new neighbour Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) has commissioned for him: write the club’s brand new musical theatrical “Spectacular Spectacular”, set to star the Moulin Rouge’s main attraction, the courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman). Our young hero falls madly in love with the untouchable goddess, oblivious to the fact that her devotion is already being bought by an evil merchant (Richard Roxburgh). Despite its being set at the turn of the century, Lurhmann uses music from all periods of the twentieth century, from Richard Rodgers to Nirvana, and uses it in such abundance that all the songs add to the emotional substance of the story rather than call attention to themselves in a gimmicky way. Kidman and McGregor couldn’t be better both as actors and singers, Kidman especially has never been more attractive, and the supporting cast topped by Jim Broadbent as the club’s owner are all top-notch. Song highlights include a beautiful rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song” and a great tango version of The Police’s “Roxanne”.