Monday, October 18, 2004

Moulin Rogue

Last night I finally caught Moulin Rouge on DVD. Directed and written by Baz Luhrmann, starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, and Richard Roxburgh.

I was informed that this is the third movie in Baz Luhrmann's "Red Curtain Trilogy." The first was Strictly Ballroom and the second was Romeo + Juliet. I was also told that all 3 are love stories only the first movie tells it through dance, the second through language and the third through song. An interesting trilogy if their ever was one.

IMDB Plot Summary:
It's Paris in 1899. Christian, a young English poet, comes to Paris to persue a pennyless career as a writer. However, he soon meets a group of Bohemians who tell him that he should write a musical show for them to be performed at the Moulin Rouge, the most famous underworld night club in Paris. The night they arrive at the Moulin Rouge, Christian meets Satine, the club's star and a beautiful courtesan. He falls head-over-heels in love with her and though it takes a bit of convincing, she falls for him as well. Meanwhile, the club's owner, Harold Zidler, invests in a wealthy Duke to help pay for the club, however, the duke will only pay if Satine is his. This crazy love triangle twists and turns. And little does Satine know that she has a deadly secret that could end everything.
The movie is a combination movie/musical. The music in general is phenomenal! There are musical numbers throughout the film that highlight the story, its characters and their feelings.

The sets and film style are very outlandish. The idea (imo) is to create another world, another universe in which this story takes place. (Granted the real setting is France at the Moulin Rouge club.) To that end, the style is very successful. The environments feel surreal, as if this is another world with its own rules and customs.

Two interesting features. One is the use of anachronistic things. For example, some of the music used is quite modern such as Nirvana's song Smells Like Teen Spirit. The second item dovetails into the first. When the movie uses some songs, it uses them to new music. That is, the old lyrics with similar-sounding but different music. To wit, there's a whole sequence centered around Madonna's Like a Virgin lyrics only with different music.

I got pulled along a tangent somewhat since I have thus far failed to describe the movie as a romantic tragedy with comedic elements. There's a fair bit of comedy there though the main themes are of romance and tragedy. It feels rather Shakespearean at times. A very nice, engaging story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and have already ordered the Red Curtain Trilogy from Amazon. As a friend put it, people are likely to either love or hate the film. If you think you might enjoy it, then you very well may. And vice versa with hating it.

Some choice quotes:
Love? Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love.

Never fall in love with a woman who sells herself. It always ends bad.

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

My gift is my song. And this one's for you. And You Can Tell Everybody That this is your song. It may be quite simple but now that it's done. I hope you don't mind I hope You don't mind That I put down in words... How Wonderful Life is Now you're in the world.

You're going to be bad for business. I can tell.

The French are glad to die for love. They delight in fighting duels. But I prefer a man who lives... and gives expensive... jewels.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy or don't see it. No in-between.