So the big news, other than news is Nicole Kidman has admitted to using Botox. I think my response is big whoop. Which is semi-polite Australian for ‘who cares’? It’s like my electrician admitting to liking hip hop instead of pub rock. I don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect the job he does when uncrossing wires or some such. Same for Kidman. If it gets in the way, it’s a problem. Also recent news is out Luhrmann’s next project, a remake of The Great Gatsby, could come out in 3D. I, for one, hope it works. Why should 3D be just for comic book films (I include Tron in this category too)?
Anyhoo I thought I’d commemorate these auspicious almost interesting events by posting a review of Moulin Rouge! which was originally for the Online Film Club, but is now, well, here. Enjoy.
Throw every idea you have away about musicals and watch 2001’s Moulin Rouge! You may cry, cringe and laugh out loud and sing along all at once because Director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Australia) has a way of throwing every pop culture reference into a story, adding luscious colours and vibrant costumes, setting it in France 1899 and somehow making it work. In addition, the wide-eyed honesty of Ewan McGregor’s Christian plays well opposite Nicole Kidman’s world-weary yet faux kitteny courtesan Satine as part of a tragi-comic love triangle of Shakespearean proportions.
Set in and around the legendary Moulin Rouge, where writers dream of love, courtesan’s dream of acting and every Bohemian drinks Absinthe to freedom, beauty, truth, and love, as espoused by painter and ring leader Toulouse-Lautrec (an oddly beguiling John Leguizamo), the hyper-real staged landscape does the work of transporting the audience into an intoxicating and melodramatic world, even as the lyrics jolt them back into 1985 or 1995 or 2001.
Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler is utterly surprising and manages to steal scenes as the manager of the establishment, while Richard Roxburgh overplays the dastardly Duke to wincing perfection. Fans of Australian performers will spot plenty of other familiar faces, including Christine Anu and Kylie Minogue as the Green Fairy and no musical is complete without the fabulous Caroline O’Connor belting out a tune.
Perhaps because Nicole Kidman attracts strong reactions (both negative and positive) the film was not a huge smash. It has also yet to be appreciated as the sort of film specialist cinemas could play to the kind of audiences who sing along to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, although that may have more to do with how the love story ends, rather than the actors. As escapist fare for Gen X, it is, however, worth a viewing, especially if you favour surrealistic cinema, lyrics of 1980s love songs, and grand doses of humour verging on slapstick and dark epic melodrama.
More on Kurban – Kidman and Urban have gone public with the birth of their daughter, Faith Margaret, through a ‘gestational carrier’.