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’.
2 thoughts on “Botox Rouge!”
It’s funny. I’m not a Baz fan. Or more specifically, I’m not a fan of his work. I couldn’t get into Romeo and Juliet and Australia left me wanting to leave the room. Moulin Rouge however… That I really enjoyed.
I was pretty indifferent to Nicole Kidman. The more I see of her, the more I think her a somewhat one dimensional actor the rest of the cast though, and the music! Oh the music. If you make a musical, the music needs to make it, and I reckon it did.
I giggled to “Like a virgin” and all the symbolism attached to that performance, loved the throaty, raspy “Roxanne” from the narcoleptic Argentinian and couldn’t help but enjoy the mash up of love songs culminating in a lunar-Pav finale.
The DVD sits on my shelf, and gets the occasional watch. Not sure if it’ll ever be in the same company as Rocky Horror, but it’s still a goody!
If you hadn’t guessed, I agree entirely with your review. 🙂
Hey there, and thanks!
Disagreement welcome too.
I did love Romeo + Juliet and somewhere in Australia Baz had one or two good films he could have made, one was a semi decent WWII flick, another could have been interesting as a drama about farming/land vs Indigenous culture and another film, some kind of weird rip off of a 1930s screw ball romantic comedy. I think Baz though Kidman was Katherine Hepburn for a moment. Too many films in one Baz!
I’m interested in what Baz will do to Gatsby too, coming at it from outside American culture with a 3D and quirky sensibility. I hope he doesn’t go for the comedy in it, but I don’t mind if he goes for a bit of the surreal.
As for Our Nicole, I think her early stuff was quirky or dark and interesting. Days of Thunder was ….? I don’t have the words. But her later career has seen her typecast as some kind of ice queen. I liked Cold Mountain and The Others which that persona kinda fit but not much else. The Hours was ok.
Oh, and the music. Sometimes only people of a certain age get a joke and the music in this is like a Gen X in-joke. Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge just rock as soundtracks.