I know that those who know Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann will hate me for saying that I hate his movies. I have so far seen his MTV-era adaptation of William Skaespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and his love story-filled-with-old-songs tale Moulin Rouge! and have been so scarred from those viewings, I’m scared to see his first film Strictly Ballroom. I just don’t like his executions, though his ideas are interesting.
Moulin Rouge! is the story of a young man, Christian (Ewan McGregor), who has come to Paris in 1899. He gets mixed up with some weird Bohemians and ends up in a night club/brothel/I-have-no-idea-what-it-is trying to persuade a beautiful courtesan named Satine (Nicole Kidman) to have him write a play called Spectacular Spectacular. He falls in love with her, but *gasp* she has TB and is dying!
There are several problems with this film. One is that the use of old songs of yesteryear are not well executed. Sure, it’s a great idea, but destroying songs such as Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” (which was rather offensive to begin with) is just plain wrong. Not only have they mixed songs together (The “Elephant Love Medley” consists of about ten different songs.), they have even changed the lyrics to fit the storyline. I think that jukebox musicals are an interesting, but dangerous idea. Nicole Kidman is really the “Sparkling Diamond” she is supposed to be and her voice is pretty good, while Ewan McGregor is fine. My favorite duet between the two is the song “Come What May”. The cinematography is appalling. During FatBoySlim’s “Can Can”, you may actually get dizzy or nauseous from watching the twirling camera angles of petticoats and garter belts.
Though there is one thing I can say that I liked about this film. One of the famous numbers in the film is “El Tango de Roxanne”, which is a visually and inspriring number. It’s actually a new version of The Police’s “Roxanne”, which is in a way shocking. The song runs chills up your spine. That’s about it.
This film is not very good, but you might enjoy it. There were a few parts I did enjoy, I guess.