Spectacular Spectacular – Moulin Rouge! (2001)

The cure for cynicism.  So this is about a penniless writer (Ewan McGregor) who comes to Paris in the year 1900 to learn about love.  He finds himself falling hopelessly in love with Satine (Nicole Kidman), the most beautiful courtesan at the Moulin Rouge, but love is never that simple, which is a perfect reason to incorporate a bit of modern music.  Now this is a favorite of mine that I can positively watch at any given time without exception.  There may be movies above this on my all-time ‘best of’ list, but there are very few that I watch more often.  Out of all my Blu-rays that I own, it is this and Cloverfield that I get the most usage of, and with this much color, it makes for a positively gorgeous transfer.  Please believe that I am not exaggerating when I say that my wife will (occasionally) catch me watching this at night after she has gone to bed.

3All you need is love!

This is one of the most vibrant and striking movies out there, and there isn’t another film that is put together quite like Moulin Rouge is.  You can say what you want about Baz Luhrmann as a director, and you can criticize all of the anachronisms that he injects into his films, but the guy knows how to film a party, and once you witness the Can Can medley very early on, you should have an understanding as far as what you’re in for.  All of the music is brilliantly mixed and executed, and this is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time.  If I could sum it up in a pair of words, those words would be “toe tapping”.  There’s a ton of Elton John featured, which makes total sense, given the themes of the film, and as blasphemous as it sounds, I like Ewan’s version of My Song just as much as Elton’s.  Everybody knocks their respective songs out of the park, and they work both as a whole and as standalone numbers.

2Nicole Kidman has never been more attractive than she is here, and she just exudes sexiness.

There’s not a whole lot of middle ground with Moulin Rouge, and everybody who I’ve spoken to either loves it or hates it.  I fall on the side of love, which is apropos, given the film’s message.  I feel that Richard Roxburgh is one of the most underrated movie villains of all time, and he nails this sniveling, possessive man who is a push away from falling apart.  This is a movie that can do both light and dark, and once you get to El Tango de Roxanne, it switches gears and impresses you in a completely different way.  Moulin Rouge is a film that is both romantic and infectious, and it is absolutely capable of making you believe in love if you had already given up.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) *****

– Critic for Hire


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