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A stunning, visual feast
Gouda-312 June 2001
At the risk of sounding overly bombastic, "Moulin Rouge" is the best film I've seen all year, perhaps the best one I've seen in over a year. It is operatic in the best sense of the word, being at once massively outlandish and deeply personal. It is clear that a lot of people took career risks in choosing this film, and although "Moulin Rouge" may not rack up a huge box office, I think this film will become a classic alongside his other two films "Strictly Ballroom" and "Romeo + Juliet."

In the showing of "Moulin Rouge" I saw last week, at least 5 people walked out. At the same time I heard audience members audibly gasping at the films visuals and talking back to the screen. The source of these strong reactions? Baz Luhrmann's confidence in his garish cinematic vision and the commitment his actors have in him. The cast fills their roles with relish, even when the entire scene totters on the edge of overkill--but oddly enough, it is the focus that sets "Moulin Rouge" apart from other films these days. Whereas some actors sleepwalk through their roles as they collect their paychecks, everything about "Moulin Rouge" is done in earnest.

This movie is the anti-"Pearl Harbor," because instead of being a hodgepodge of market-tested ideas, "Moulin Rouge" presents a bold vision and dares the audience to accept or reject it. I, for one, accepted it with delight. A telling comparison: Luhrmann has Nicole Kidman and Ewen MacGregor sing the film's love song. Very daring. For "Pearl Harbor" Michael Bay chose Faith Hill. Very safe. Too safe. Can you imagine Ben Afleck belting out "There You'll Be"?

"Moulin Rouge" glitters with such bold decisions. It is a sumptuous feast for ear and eye featuring gorgeous costumes, intricate sets (Nicole Kidman's boudoir in a gigantic elephant is a case in point), and outlandishly choreographed dance numbers are paraded with frenetic relish. And the music, the MUSIC! As you probably know by now, Luhrmann has thrown into his period piece a collage of musical snippets from, among many bits, "The Sound of Music," Madonna, The Police, and Elton John. In most cases, no one song gets performed without intersplicing. Witness Luhrmann's audacity: the opening number includes a melding of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And here's the spooky part: it works.

The entire movie plays this way, and for the most part it works. Most surpising is that "Moulin Rouge" has a solid, deeply sincere emotional core. Although the film professes to be about love, I'd add that it is equally about loss. The Moulin Rouge is a playground where adults pretend they are children with the added spice of sensuality.

All the performances are excellent, but the hidden gem is Jim Broadbent as Zidler. Broadbent for years has been doing majestically understated supporting work, from "Brazil" to "Enchanted April" to "Topsy-Turvy." In "Moulin Rouge" he manages to be both repulsive and endearing. His spirited rendition of "Like a Virgin" is classic. Too bad it's not on the soundtrack.

Expect to be overwhelmed by "Moulin Rouge" in the most unexpected, delightful ways. It will make you wonder why other films can't or won't dare to be that bold.
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The most original and groundbreaking movie of recent history
emandal_maggs3 February 2003
I have seen Moulin Rouge at least 25 times. I think it is the most extraordinary movie of my generation and breaks every limit set by the industry. I have heard all the traditional complaints...people didn't like the music, the editing was too swift, or it wasn't "their taste". Moulin Rouge took a risk. A risk films like A Beautiful Mind and Shakespeare in Love don't. It risked by being controversial. To make a likeable movie isn't hard, follow the Hollywood mold and stick in a few attractive actors, some bland dialogue and viola you have a film. Moulin Rouge was made knowing that not everyone would like it, but knowing everyone would at least appreciate it for its artistic ingenuity. Visually it is superb, an indulgent feast for the eyes with every breathtaking, artistic scene. Everything about it is over the top, every scene more stunning than the next, and as it continues your heart becomes more and more intertwined in the love story. The editing in the Roxanne scene rushes through your body and is the most incredible of any movie in history. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGreggor are the most passionate on-screen couple; entirely convincing as their voices meld them together into one. Never has a movie done what Moulin Rouge did. It realized that the world of film is only being represented in one small way, whereas Moulin Rouge uses a camera and screen to make something bigger and more extraordinary than has ever been made before. It pushes against the confines of convention and leaves you breathless.
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I am in love with "Moulin Rouge"!
morningperson_200031 August 2001
I have not ever felt for a movie the way I do about "Moulin Rouge." It is not just a is a cinematic experience the likes of which I have never before seen. The story, the music, the acting, the visual imagery strikes emotion in me I never before thought possible from a film. It is without a doubt the most brilliant piece of cinematic art I have ever seen. It is dizzy, maddening, beautiful, and heartbreaking! The music is rapturous, and Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman's voices compliment each other and the story perfectly. This movie takes its story to a mythic level and surrounds these two star-crossed lovers with music and imagery that simply will take your breath away. The story is grand, huge, and operatic, as is the music. The brilliant score skillfully weaves many modern, popular songs, and rescores them as the libretto to this grand opera. There are some images in this film unlike anything you have ever seen. And the performances are absolutely incredible, particularly Nicole Kidman's. I truly felt for these two people, and truly felt that they were in love. My heart broke into a million pieces for them every time I saw this movie, and I've seen it 8 times. It's an absolutely breathtaking, visionary, masterpiece that did not get the credit it deserved by American critics, who seem to complain that every movie is the same. Yet when an original, daring, shocking film like this comes along, they don't know what to do with it. But then again, this really is not just a film. No mere film could strike me the way this one has, in a way that reaches to the very fibres of my being in a way only "The Wizard of Oz" ever has before. Yes, the story is sad, but what a journey it takes you on! A journey I will be sure to repeat over and over and over again.
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One of the few movies out there worth watching several times, just because of the sheer visual and musical enchantment. **** (out of four)
Movie-1216 June 2001
MOULIN ROUGE! / (2001) **** (out of four)

By Blake French:

"Moulin Rouge!" revives our imagination and relives the musical era of Hollywood. The film is like an extravagant, expensive Broadway production on screen, with enough open courage, engrossing passion, and zesty energy for several motion pictures. It's one of the year's best films; "Moulin Rouge!" may be a cliché-ridden love triangle, but Baz Luhrmann, the film's director, shines a fresh, stunning originality on a familiar plot. He creates a candid, exuberant style for his characters-a mixture between a fast-paced music video and lush, exotic images. He uses a vast variety of camera placements and shooting angles. In several of the songs, he cuts on nearly every word. This does indeed make us dizzy, but it is the perfect approach to the material.

From the opening moments, "Moulin Rouge!" plays full force, overpowering our senses. The film doesn't even wait for its opening credits to begin. The usual 20th Century Fox logo appears on the screen within a screen as a little bald musician rises from the bottom, and continues to frantically conduct the traditional Fox fanfare. From this, we cut to "The Sound of Music," where young writer morns over the loss of his true love. The film includes an interesting use of the bookend structure, and I like how it reveals the information about the main character's deadly disease early. This is the kind of movie that does not need to astonish us with sudden plot twists or unexpected character revelations. The joy of watching "Moulin Rouge!" is in the visual stimulation; the plot is more interested in its own character's discoveries than playing mind games with the audience.

Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman prove that they can really sing. Most of the time, celebrity singers turn to the silver screen with a lot of star power but little acting ability. Look at LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, and I just know Brittany Spears is going to turn up in a movie one of these days. "Moulin Rouge" may be one of the first movies to open musical doors for its leading performers. Even Jim Broadbent proves to be well cast in a crazy, intensified character that he really sinks his teeth into. I will never look at any of these stars in the same light again, even, to my great reluctance, John Leguizamo.

The film takes place in the early 19th century, as Christian (McGregor) enters Paris hoping to write love stories. Several peculiar figures live above him, including the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec (Leguizamo) and his Bohemian troupe attempting to construct a play. After a freak accident, Christian is suddenly thrust into the middle of their play. The crew hires him as the star writer. He then takes a visit to the flirtatious Moulin Rouge night club, ran by the robust Harold Zinder (Jim Broadbent). It is here where he tries to persuade the club's popular, sexy lead performer and courtesan, Satine (Kidman), to work in their production.

After mistaking Christian for a rich and powerful aristocrat, The Duke (Richard Roxburgh), Satine falls in love with Christian, much to the dismay of many. However, she believes herself to be a simple prostitute, who should never fall in love because it will get in the way of success. When the Duke agrees to produce a major production at the Moulin Rogue, but only under his circumstances, things become even more complicated. The Duke demands that Satine becomes his personal property if Harold and the others want his financial support.

Obviously, the best thing in "Moulin Rouge!" is the music. Apart from the cast, the film's big list of musical artists includes David Bowe, Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink, Fatboy Slim, Beck, and many others. The kind of music that plays here does not account for a period epic at all, however. "Moulin Rouge!" doesn't try to be a historic depiction, but instead an expression of fantasy and passion. The elegant sets, eventful style, and powerful choreography scream modern day, post-pop-culture. I ran out to purchase the motion picture soundtrack. You should, too. But listening to the soundtrack on your CD player at home is nothing like experiencing the memorable singing and dancing, sexual energy, and relentless enthusiasm on the big screen.

As I say in very few film critiques, some movies are you watch, others you experience. "Moulin Rouge" is an experience not to be missed. It is a bizarre, unique blend of exhaustive energy and lively action-one of the bravest, most ambitious and entertaining movies of the year.
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honeypot1 July 2001
This movie blew my mind. Watch it, then watch it again. 'Moulin Rouge' made me laugh, cry, and dream. It's boldness and confidence to produce something so original and different impressed me. At times the scenery was as surreal as something you would experience in a dream, which only makes this movie more amazing. 'Moulin Rouge' shows love from all angles. It includes the raw passion, infatuation, vehemence, intensity, ecstasy, jealousy, and pain that is found in true love. The acting was staggering. Ewan McGregor is unrealistically perfect, combining sweet innocence with masculinity. Kidman perfectly brings out the seductive side of Satine, yet never loses the vulnerable soul that lies behind it. Roxburgh(The Duke) and Leguizamo(Lautrec) bring out just the right amount of comic relief in this intense drama. There is nothing I would change about this movie. One warning, though: Moulin Rouge is not for the artistically deprived. It is quite a contemporary movie, so you may not like it if you prefer to watch simple movies(ex. 'American Pie', 'Scary Movie').
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This is a musical for people who don't like musicals.
kay3218 October 2001
This was easily one of the best movies I've seen in years. Rarely do movies have a visual force capable of stunning you into rapt silence; and even more rare are films able to further this with a soundtrack that can move you and ensnare you as well, if not better, than the images. Yet some how, through genius, magic, luck, or some combination, Moulin Rouge has managed to do both. In truth Moulin Rouge is a fusion of two fabulous films into one. A film of images capable of conveying meaning without dialog or music, and a film which you could feel and understand with out needing to see it. Much effort was obviously spent on both the visual and audio aspects of this film, and by choosing not to focus on one over the other, and sacrifice the songs for the story or vice versa, the filmmakers were able to make a truly unique, modern musical which those of us who have hated musical since childhood could enjoy. Moulin Rouge is a blend of old, established techniques with innovative experimental ones, resulting in a movie which could only have been made in our time, yet which has a classic feel. The acting is wonderful, the mixture of modern songs is ingenious, and the cinematography is at times simply amazing. The end result is a stunning film with unbelievable performances; a cinematic experience that people will be loving, analyzing and trying to imitate for year.
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Spectacular! Spectacular! A unique masterpiece to be seen again and again!
skyler5829 June 2001
I have now seen Moulin Rouge more times than I should say and I have noticed something new and unique every time. This film is so intricate (and beautiful) that you cannot possibly absorb it all in one viewing. Luhrman (along with his Bazmark production team) really is a visionary and his films push the limits in such amazing ways. The music, the sets, the choreography - all of it is awe-inspiring. Ewan McGregor proves his versatility as an actor yet again by bringing such a heartfelt innocence to Christian - and the man can sing! Nicole Kidman went from being just another actress to me to one of my favorites - she takes on the role of Satine so honestly and proves that she not only has a comedic side but a great voice as well. Together the two of them light up the screen. In a year of mostly mediocre films (with a few notable exceptions) Moulin Rouge is totally refreshing. It not only promotes truth, beauty, freedom, and love but is a perfect example of them as well. Luhrman himself said that it was time for a new kind of storytelling and he was right! Open your mind and enjoy one of the most original movie experiences in years. A bohemian storm is brewing!
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Stunning Bag Of Wind
ptmcq0523 May 2005
I wonder if that line from the Duke "I don't care about your ridiculous dogma" was directed to Lars Von Triar. It could be, the film is full of knowing lines "He could make you a star and you're dallying with the writer!" or "They dressed me with the Argentinean's best clothes and passed me for a famous English writer" There is something of Ken Russell's second period in "Moulin Rouge" Everything is emphasized, underlined and repeated at least three times for safety. Excess seem a rather feeble term to describe it and yet, it works. The film, for the most part, is a delight. Nicole Kidman, ravishing and spectacular, spectacular. Ewan McGregor, superb, and so charismatic that no one would blame me if I confess I had a had crush on him as soon as he broke into "The Hills are alive with the sound of music..." Kidman and McGregor, this film proves it, are the closest thing we've had in years to the big stars of yesteryear. They could make anything shine and they have. Another detail that shouldn't go amiss, "Moulin Rouge" opened the door again for musicals and that's always a good thing even if we're bound to be bombarded by some terrible stuff. I say it doesn't matter as long as it allows glorious film talents of the caliber of Kidman and McGregor to give us the pleasures they have even in a bag of wind such as "Moulin Rouge"
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Mostly, It's a Story About Love
jhclues11 June 2001
This is a story about life. And about the artists who congregated in Paris in 1900, living a bohemian lifestyle and giving the world the fruits of their labor, of their art, for which they would gladly bleed and die. But mostly this is a story about love. Of a young man named Christian, a penniless writer, and a singer named Satine, who for a moment came together and tasted the nectar of the gods. `Moulin Rouge,' written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, takes you into a world that is bright and brilliant, fast and flashy and filled with all of the things that make life worth living. It's a fantasy world of song and color, of soaring hearts and aspirations-- but also of the reality upon which the illusion of it all is built. And the effects of that reality on Christian and Satine, whose love has been forbidden by that same reality they seek to dispel by impaling it with the artistic endeavors that give them life.

If Disney had commissioned a film to be written by Shakespeare, directed by Fellini and produced by Spielberg, this would be it. It's a dizzying, whirling burst of lights, colors, music, drama and comedy that assails the senses and will hold you spellbound from beginning to end. Like the bohemians he portrays, Luhrmann leaves convention behind and dips instead into his own inspired and highly imaginative formula to tell his story. The cinematography (by Donald McAlpine) and art direction (by Ann-Marie Beauchamp and Ian Gracie) are brilliant, as well as the production design (by Catherine Martin) and the sets (by Brigitte Broch). One of the many inspired touches Luhrmann employs here, is the use of different film speeds throughout, which, when combined with the superlative, quick-cut editing (by Jill Bilcock), makes it all transporting and surreal.

Ewan McGregor turns is a terrific performance as Christian, the young man who arrives in Paris with nothing more than spirit and a head filled with ideas and ideals. When artistic differences leaves Zidler (Jim Broadbent), proprietor of the Moulin Rouge, without a writer for a new show, `Spectacular, Spectacular,' Christian steps in. And so does McGregor, who shines in the part. And the boy can sing! He may not have the greatest voice in the world, but it's a good `stage voice,' and most importantly, he can sell a song, as evidenced by the scene in which he puts across Elton John's `Your Song.' McGregor has a charismatic screen presence, and in this role he really gets a chance to demonstrate his versatility as an actor.

As Satine, Nicole Kidman is saucy and sensuous, bringing her character vividly to life, this woman who makes her living by being every man's fantasy as she sings and sashays her way through this world of the Moulin Rouge. In her heart, she longs to be a serious actress, and if this new show is a success, she just may get her chance. But first, the show needs someone to finance the lavish production. They may have one-- the Duke of Worcester (Richard Roxburgh), has expressed interest, but he has one condition. If he pays for the show he wants something in return (besides a profit on his investment). He wants Satine. But so does Christian, who has nothing to offer the show but his talent, and nothing for Satine but his love. Zidler, meanwhile, aware of the Duke's demands, urges Satine to turn her back on Christian, to `save him.' And beyond and besides all that is happening, there is something else going on with Satine, something more personal, that ultimately will have an effect on the outcome of the dilemma for all concerned.

The supporting cast includes John Leguizamo (Toulouse Lautrec), Kylie Minogue (The Green Fairy), Garry McDonald (Doctor), Jacek Koman (The Narcoleptic Argentinean), Matthew Whittet (Satie), Kerry Walker (Marie) and Laszlo Lukas (Conductor). With an eye for detail and his imagination thrust into overdrive, Luhrmann has put together and delivered one of the brightest films to come along in quite awhile. `Moulin Rouge' is an explosion of sights and sounds, a film laced with humor and visual largess that holds a poignant and dramatic story at it's heart. Entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable, this is a memorable film and a satisfying movie-going experience. It's a story about love; a story told through the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
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An inspiring rebirth of the movie musical...
Nazi_Fighter_David6 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Luhrmann's flamboyant musical 'Moulin Rouge' is a combination of Camille, La Bohème and Showgirls... The film swings easily between present and past, among so many wildly different moods: farce, tragedy, romance, satire, comedy and rock and roll...

'Moulin Rouge' is an assault on the senses, a non stop visual explosion, an exotic trip, and a love story that is sure to touch your heart... It is a gloriously cinematic spectacle with opulent imagery directed with an eye for rich color, especially the color of rouge... It is also a breathtaking and poignant piece of cinema, a disco of dreams, a crazy and daring show, a vibrant screen fantasy, a "Bohemian Revolution," a magical movie for those who love romance, pop music and old musical movies...

Nicole Kidman gives the film its soul... She is the "sparkling diamond" of the show, the toast of Paris, the city's top courtesan... She melts her characterization with a sizzling, yet tender, performance... She is undeniably sexy, a beautiful singer, a flashy dancer whose heart sings whenever she sees Christian... In many ways, she is drawn as the ultimate sex goddess, as enigmatic as Greta Garbo, and her glamor masks her pain as well as her happiness... Kidman gives the film its central erotic charge, and its romantic thrills... She sways on a flying trapeze belting out Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," and Madonna's "Material Girl."

Ewan McGregor achieves a nice mix of optimism and desperation, emphasizing the sincerity of the love-struck poet-hero... Christian is a young idealist who moves to the bohemian section of Paris during the 'summer of love' of 1899... He is hired to write a show about 'truth, beauty, freedom and, most of all, love.' Christian battles for the body and soul of the ravishing Satine... His fundamental believe is 'the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and to be loved in return…

John Leguizamo is vulnerable and sweet as Henri de Toulouse Lautrec needing a good writer to come up with story and lyrics for his new show called "Spectacular Spectacular."

Jim Broadbent is wonderfully comic as the ringmaster Harold Zidler... He is a jovial impresario who peddles the charms of a successful Satine to a mesmerized public... He is the owner of the infamous nightclub who has promised Satine to the evil Duke of Monroth... He has his eye on her too...

Richard Roxburgh is odious as the jealous benefactor obsessed with Satine to the point of murder... He is stunningly arrogant wanting the gorgeous can-can chanteuse in an "exclusive contract."

Luhrmann combines 1900 Can Can burlesque with modern musical poetry, exploiting Kidman's grace and beauty and overwhelming the audience with frenetic dance numbers delivered in operatic-style... Like Orson Welles, Luhrmann loves the technical magic of movies... When a red curtain opens, an orchestra conductor emerges to direct the unmistakable '20th Century Fox' theme opening, we immediately realize we're in for something really magical: A spectacular costume revue, an eye-catching fin de siècle exuberance, an inspiring rebirth of the movie musical...
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Moulin Rouge!, A Masterpiece
Savvas Stavrou23 July 2003
The bad commercial campaigns of the best movie of all time failed to give Moulin Rouge! worldwide recognition, but alas, this happens with many great movies (e.g. Requiem For A Dream, Donnie Darko). The whole comparison between this and the new musical blockbuster Chicago is useless since they are both great movies but not the same. Still, Moulin Rouge! remains in the first place on the Best Movies list. This musical, comical, dramatical and action packed hell of a movie will satisfy the whole audience. It just needs to be given a chance. Never have I seen an audience stand up and clap, with tears in their eyes, at the magnificent movie they have watched.

The story is very simple but very complicated at the same time, giving enough music, action and laughs for everybody's taste. The characters are very easy to relate to and the edge-of-your-seat directing gives edge to this masterpiece. Christian, a young writer arrives in Paris, against the will of his father, to seek a career as a writer. He meets a group of bohemians who are planning to set up a musical play at the famous club Moulin Rouge and they invite him to rewrite the story of their play but at the same time to lure the famous courtesan Satine as to star in their play. Satine confuses Christian with the Duke, who on the contrary is expected to sleep with Satine to finance the upcoming play. The confusion continues and finally Satine and Christian convince the Duke to accept to finance the play. As the play is made, Christian and Satine fall in love, but the Duke's rights to the play also count for the body of Satine. She is his. And so the lovers try to keep their love a secret before everything is lost. On the way, jealousy, betrayal and trust is needed for their love to be contained.

Satine is portrayed by the beautiful Nicole Kidman who delivers an astonishing performance. Her character has so much life inside her which makes you fall in love with her. Nicole was truly the one for Satine, for her beauty and character match like no other. She did, in fact, break two ribs during the making of Moulin Rouge! Ewan McGregor, one of the finest young actors on the Hollywood A-List, plays the writer Christian with success. Christian is a three-dimensional character with feelings and compassion. Both of these excellent actors' singing and dancing skills help in the portrayal of their characters.

The direction is simply amazing. With the best director there is, what can someone expect? Baz Luhrmann shows us his creative and brilliant ideas through his direction, cinematography, editing and camera work. All of these factors give you a dazzling effect. The editing gives you enough to be kept at the edge of your seat and also to feel those small goosebumps running up and down your back. The music is absolutely fantastic. The idea of mixing old songs together and forming this huge masterpiece is just amazing. The original music created by Craig Armstrong, one of the finest, also has atmosphere and is truly brilliant.

Mr. Luhrmann also takes us comprehend the importance of the visual world of movies with Moulin Rouge! The whole movie is a visual attack, giving you enough colours to come back begging for more. It dazzles you amazingly and twists you around. The costumes are excellent and the sets are simply fantastic. The mixture of all of these given to you by the editing will leave you speechless and coming back to watch it over and over again.

Moulin Rouge! is a movie for the people. It has something everyone can relate to. It has been an instant classic ever since it came out in the cinemas. The more you watch Moulin Rouge!, the more you get addicted to it and the songs can even make you sing along. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor show off their acting and singing capabilities and at the same time director Baz Luhrmann mixes them together and forms his finest masterpiece up to date. Moulin Rouge! makes you proud for who you are and will make you fall in love with it. This is a movie about Truth, Beauty, Freedom and above all thing, Love...

Savvas Stavrou's Rating: 10/10 - A True Masterpiece
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Glorious Absynthe Prostitution
tedg3 June 2001
This film is crafted of many common narrative elements:

--The rich cad versus the poor lad for the girl (with the conceit that love is unavailable to the wealthy 'unreal' class)

--The girl who must renounce her love to save her lover (only to lose her own life)

--The notion of players as prostitutes (here bohemian dadaists)

--The setting of a play within a play (with the everpresent driver that the show must go on)

--The extended bracketing (the opening/closing curtain, then the open/closing whiteface observer of the 'mill,' then the retrospective narrator writing what we see, then the initiation of the absinthe vision, all before the inner play -- and that inner play has yet another level: performers in an Indian court -- who are doing a song about a song)

It also uses an ordinary convention of embedding songs in the action. Though one must note that absinthe hallucinations are intrinsically musical and similarly embedded. (Don't try this at home: thujone, the active ingredient in absinthe is so pernicious that is the only drug that has been successfully outlawed in the civil world. Think about that. Then imagine an absinthe bar on every corner and in every Parisian artist's life 100 years back.)

Having mentioned all the ordinary elements, this film is the most fun I ever remember having in front of a screen. Everything to the smallest element is coordinated to be a single, transporting vision. And what a vision! The camera has character here -- it is a performer, it dances, laughs, cries -- it is detached voyeur, then intimate partner. Everything is so original in vision, and so coherent it amazes. This is close to scifi -- it conveys us to an alternative not-quite-real world we can barely reach.

The actors play to a knowing camera-audience. There is an amazing sequence in the elephant when the Duke first interrupts the writer and the inner play's cast makes up and acts out the play in front of us. This of course includes self-reference of the current situation. We are so swept up in the exuberance that we lose our place. What layer where we in?

(A talking sitar that can tell no lie? A narcoleptic Argentinian? The dadaist Latrec as the story's stable center? A connubial elephant? -- Glorious prostitution.)

The layer shuffling happens again with a more edgy and sinister tone with a Tango to Sting overlain with other music and emotions: the 'real' action with Satine and the Duke. We lose our detachment again because the layers of self-reference are juggled. The finale echos this.

Nicole does the best job of her career. She is so totally open here one worries for her -- I suppose this is the Emily Watson effect.

Baz is now among my top three directors. This is a near perfect film in execution. The one flaw comes from that perfection. Broadbent is a perfect Zidler. But he has played this same role before -- recently, and in a similarly nested play: 'Topsy Turvey'. It takes a small chip away from the originality if the film.

See this. See it twice in a row, the second time for the absinthe, and allow yourself to be ravished deeper than you knew you existed visually.
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Get ready for a spectacular journey...
scifisuede2 January 2005
If you're in love, this is the ultimate film for you. This is an emotional ride, not the kind you should watch with frowned foreheads trying to analyse it; but the kind you should watch with a light heart and an open mind. The whole film feels exactly like how the world looks when you're in love - everything's so dream-like, fabulous, spectacular, emotional.

It's just utterly entertaining! It's touching at one time, funny at another....

Firstly, the music is GREAT - there are the likes of David Bowie, Rufus Wainwright, Beck, Alka Yagnik... even just listening to the soundtrack CD alone is an ultimate emotional ride enough. Visually, the cinematography, costumes, sets, and choreography are just stunning. They work great as a whole and resulting in a dramatic eye candy. The plot, although simple, WORKS.

So sit back, dim your lights, unplug your phones - and get ready for a fantastical, romantic 'dream' that is Moulin Rouge.
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What a mess
CHendri88717 June 2001
Can you say "technicolor vomit?" The idea for this film actually has a lot of potential: Take a mish-mash of modern pop songs and blend them together in a creative way to create a romantic musical. But what do we get here? An annoying nightmare of sound and sight that almost drove me from the theater. This film is more chopped up than the vegetables in a Beni Hanna stir fry. Luhrmann never focuses on one scene for more than a few seconds and when he does, the computer enhanced colors make the screen incredibly difficult to look at. The music has moments of creativity, as when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is blended together with "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend", but all of the scenes come across as little more than videos, not pieces creating a coherent whole. With respect to the choice of songs: Gosh, can you get more random, Boz Luhrmann? I mean, I actually feel like Luhrman put a couple hundred song titles in a hat and just chose them at random. Very strange. And I enjoyed Ewen McGregor's singing for about an hour (I found myself singing "Your Song" with him at the beginning of the film), but then it started to get annoying. And Nicole Kidman...what can one say except, "Yuck." Ever since I saw her in that Battman movie, she just bugs, bugs, bugs. And I was listening to a PJ Harvey tape in my car on the way home from the theater thinking that Harvey would have been a great choice for the part of Seline. But she probably wouldn't have been interested in such an artless film. Finally, why o why does every big budget movie that is set in France have people speaking with British accents? Is this some kind of unconscious Hollywood rule? Or couldn't Luhrmann find anyone with French accents to play in this film? Man, the French must have torn this thing up at Cannes. "I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that put down in words how terrible this film is while it's in this world."
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A Technicolor Yawn
aubreysinger27 January 2002
In a way, Moulin Rouge typifies everything that's wrong with American cinema by bastardizing everything that's right with its European counterpart. Visually, the movie is a great reference for any commercial or video director. But unlike a music video that lasts only three minutes, Moulin Rouge begins with a visual volume worthy of Spinal Tap and tries to sustain it for 120 minutes. It doesn't work. The rule of dynamics applies as much to a pretentious musical as it does to an ambitious action film. If the volume is too loud, you simply can't hear anything. Everything gets lost in Moulin Rouge's hurricane of desperate art direction and production design. The film's leads, talented actors though they may be, simply aren't charismatic enough to compete. The movie requires posturing, not acting. And, frankly, there are no less charismatic actors than Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. In fact, their appeal is in their pastiness, not in their screen presence. What's more, the music can't compete either. Great songs are dwarfed by the never-ending onslaught of CGI visuals, which, after a while, become tedious. We get it, already. The moral of this story is that you still need one to make a good movie. Nothing can replace pen and paper. Unglamorous though it may be, a good script is everything. The filmmaker's previous effort with Romeo And Juliet worked precisely because he had a great script to begin with. The production design was icing on the cake. With Moulin Rouge, icing is all there is, and a satisfying meal it does not make.
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If you Want a Massive Headache, Watch this Movie
oskib23 June 2001
Gag me with a giant MTV spoon! This was like watching MTV for 3 hours without a break. If you like that sort of thing then go see this movie. If however you like movies to have an interesting plot, authentic acting, characters you can care about and a camera that stays still for a few seconds at least, then save your money. Nicole looks good but the sex-appeal is just not there. The music is silly. I felt sorry for the actors. The supporting cast is forced to do the worst acting of their lives. The whole thing is just an expensive failure in film making.
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Aggressively, Aggressively Terrible
PeteBDawg10 June 2001
This movie was so horrible it made me weep. It wasn't even really a movie; it was an insult aimed directly at everyone who paid $9 to see it.

You see, they wanted to do a musical, only they knew people wouldn't go see a musical unless it featured a random assortment of unrelated, canned popular music. Well, I ask, what's the point? Why bother? If you "put together" a musical without writing any music, have you really "put together" a musical? The answer is no.

This is the kind of idiocy that _Oklahoma!_ displaced, where the songs are unrelated and the "action" and "character" don't even rise to the level of formality. Only it's worse, because it specifically targets songs which are attached to your memories and butchers them. When I saw them quote out of context the song U2 wrote to commemorate the life and death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an idiotic scene on the back of a big fake elephant, I almost walked out. I should have. It only got worse.

The only way this would be even permissable would be in parody, but this is no parody. It clearly wants to be taken at least marginally seriously, apparently without going to the trouble of having anything at all to say, unless you count the apparent reality that people are very, very stupid, are essentially devoid of any and all merit, and are not worth watching.

Do not believe the hype. Do not see this movie! If you do see it, at least have the good sense to get really, really high first, so that, even if it takes itself seriously, you don't make the mistake of doing so.
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Pure Unoriginal Trash
newcastleboy1 November 2001
Absolute trash. No originality. A pure cynical exercise by Hollywood to make as much money as possible with gross manipulations & boring visual effects & a non-existent script & third rate songs which are 80-100 years before their time. I give this one 1/4 out of 10 at best. Baz must be the most overrated director in movie history.
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Am I the only person who simply *HATED* this movie?
Aussie Stud16 January 2002
I have read so many posts on this message board concerning the adoration and delight people have expressed for "MOULIN ROUGE", for both its usage of creativity and for its stars, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. I skipped seeing this film when it was playing at the movies but my curiosity was spiked by the time it hit the video rental shelves at my local video store.

"MOULIN ROUGE" has indeed garnered much favoritism from critic's circles, award panels and esteemed film reviewers alike. Unfortunately, the only award I would hand this film would be a Golden Raspberry.

The opening sequence of "MOULIN ROUGE" was interesting enough. I enjoyed the camera sequence going through the city of old Paris as we are introduced to Ewan McGregor's character... and then the film pretty much falls flat on its face from thereon in.

I am not Nicole Kidman's biggest fan. I did enjoy her in "THE OTHERS", but I have to say that her performance in this film would be about on par as that in "BMX BANDITS" or "BUSH CHRISTMAS". I thought the musical pieces in "MOULIN ROUGE" were 'ear-bleedingly' awful, especially the sequence where both Ewan and Nicole are serenading each other with snippets of songs such as "I Was Made For Loving You" and "Silly Love Songs". There is one truly awful moment in the film that involves a man screeching out an unforgivable horrendous rendition of The Police's "Roxanne".

It was about the scene where John Leguizamo and his side-kicks gate-crash Ewan McGregor's personal home-warming to have him join their performing art troupe where Ewan finds himself bellowing out a sonnet of "The Hills Are Alive" from "THE SOUND OF MUSIC" that I found myself losing patience for this movie. My nerves and patience at that point were already at razor's edge. A special appearance by Kylie Minogue as 'The Green Fairy' in a 'Tinkerbell'-type role was the final straw for me.

I shifted myself to the next room to work on the computer and for the next two hours, all I heard was non-stop 'yahooing' and music that resembled the sound a tin bucket would make after it was kicked down an endless flight of stairs. Towards the end, I was wondering aloud, "Please! Make the hurting stop!" The two other people I live with had already secretly exited the living room behind my back to escape the noise.

I know that Nicole Kidman's main professional talent is targeted mainly towards acting. It is not a fair suggestion on my behalf to opine that she should work harder on the acting and leave the 'singing' thing alone altogether.

I was very disappointed with this movie. For all the fabulous write-up it has been receiving from famous reviewers and everyday people like you and I, I was expecting a great deal more from "MOULIN ROUGE". I really REALLY wanted to like "MOULIN ROUGE", but I just couldn't get into it. Please don't accuse me of having a narrow mind because I am a very open-minded person when it comes to film projects. I am sure that Baz Luhrmann had a well-planned artistic dream when he put this film together. Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be one long nightmare. One reviewer on this web-site mentioned that they are "in love" with Moulin Rouge. I guess my motto would be, "I hate Moulin Rouge".

My Rating: 1 out of 10
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A superficial depiction of love.
bdotson28 May 2003
When will people figure out that you can't compensate for a lack of TALENT with glitz and glamour. Shaking the camera, inserting quick cuts and using over-the-top sets and costumes may distract some people from this atrocity, but some of us are insightful enough to recognize crap when we see it.

This is absolutely the worse editing I think I've ever seen. (The fact that it was nominated for an academy award made me rethink every thought I've ever had. I'm afraid to leave the house now, because I think that was a sign of the coming apocolypse.) The cuts are far to quick and it seems to have arbitrary cutaways thrown in that make no sense whatsoever. It was impossible to follow, because there isn't a single shot in this movie that lasts longer than 2.5 seconds. All flashy cuts do is confuse the viewer. They aren't "hip" or "cool" or "innovative", they're just plain ridiculous (believe me, I know what I'm talking about. I'm a professional editor.) The whole idea of editing is to cut the film together into a coherent story so the viewer can enjoy it-and this film failed miserably. All it did was give me a headache. To be fair, the editor is a very skilled editor who probably was just doing her best with what that no-talent hack of a director gave her. I have to believe the A.D.D. style of cutting was his vision, not hers. Check out Road to Perdition or Elizabeth to see her true skills.

What was with the gratuitous slow-motion? Every other shot was in slo-mo for apparantly no reason at all.

The singing made me want to sharpen a pencil and shove it directly into my ear. Seeing a fat man singing "Like a Virgin" is going to cost me years of therapy and lots of sleepless nights. Kurt Cobain is turning over in his grave, and if I ever hear "Your Song" by Elton John again, I may set myself on fire to distract me from the pain. ...THE MOON SINGS! What the f**K?

Not to mention, the story was awful. This was a just a very superficial depiction of love. The story is what holds a film together. No matter how pretty you make it, without a good story, it's just a complete waste of time. I shudder to think of some potentially great movie that didn't get made because this piece of crap did.

I was EMBARRASSED to watch this movie, and I was alone when I watched it, so figure that out. If you are planning on watching it, might I suggest taking an entire bottle of Vicodin beforehand- 'cause it's gonna hurt.
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Just recycled, nothing original
thr21836 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw the movie, I gave up after 10 minutes, walked out of the theatre and kicked myself that I just have wasted 8$ on it. I just could not connect the use of modern songs with a historic setting. Convincing myself that I might just have had a bad day, and telling myself to have an open mind, I watched the DVD all the way through. Good grief, what a drag, and was I happy that I have just borrowed it from friends! A poor excuse for a plot, no character development at all, recycled (or, dare I say, massacred) pop songs, recycled ideas (La Boheme, La Traviata, Orpheus in the underworld), and, on top of that, dialogues which are mostly made up of strings of song titles, or repetitions of the key lines of the songs that have just been performed, the rest being commonplace statements. The only amazing thing is the art direction ,scoring a well deserved Oscar, but that's about it! Seemingly, Baz Luhrmann could not decide whether to make a movie (not enough plot) or an MTV video clip (too long, but still using the modern editing style of a video of light-speed camera moves and nano- second scene changes, which makes everyone older than 21 just nauseous!), and , most probably to keep the risk factor low, did not use even the tiniest bit of original ideas! Zip! Zero! Zilch! It has its funny moments, but they are too rare to make up for its shortfalls, such as lack of depth. The term love is used about 1000 times, however I could not connect to the characters (there is just not enough plot), and Satine's death left me stone cold. In short: a total waste of time.
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Definitely a low in moviemaking
debbie-2611 June 2001
This movie ranks with the worst movies ever made. Frenetic movement, disjointed camera angles, song snippets, and goofy sets do not make a great movie. I'm not surprised that the MTV generation finds this compelling. It reminded me of nothing so much as the old Monkees' Saturday Morning TV show--except that the plot of Camille was thrown in and the action was speeded up. You could say, the Monkees on acid would be a fair description.

The slapstick comedy was boring, the acting abysmal, the plot made no sense, the sets looked like a second rate Disney animated film. Let's see, take a compilation album commercial for pop love songs, add a Laurel & Hardy Film, a high school production of Camille, the Blair Witch cameraman, "It's a small world" Disney Theme Park Ride, throw it in a blender, crank up the speed and add some acid. Then you would have the Moulin Rouge!
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couldn't believe two hours could be so long!
gtjorge26 January 2002
I couldn't believe two hours could be so long. I kept waiting and waiting for the movie to end. From the first ten minutes it was downhill and it kept going downhill. Everything but the kitchen sink - from Nature Boy to Camille. Nothing original anywhere. Jim Broadbent was hideously miscast and the whole movie looked like a bad acid trip from the 60's. No wonder the musical is dead.
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If this movie moved you, stop seeing movies all together!!!!
pulpfictionier27 January 2002
This film was visually stunning and was shot in a unique style. Unfortunately this isn't a painting and a film can't be given a A just for how it looks on the outside. Just like the new Planet of the Apes, this film was nice to look at but I just wanted to hit the mute button so many times during my viewing. Truly a ghastly film and if it wins best picture over...well anything it would be time to do some national soul searching concerning what kinds of crap we're giving anyone with the first name Baz to make films.
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Gave up after 20 minutes. I couldn't finish this.
IheartCali588224 November 2010
I mean I physically could not finish because the lightning fast editing was hurting my eyes and just making me dizzy. The camera switches scenes on average about every 1-2 seconds and I've got the beginnings of a headache to prove it. Never have I had a movie make me physically sick, but this one has managed to achieve that distinction and not just because of the editing.

I can't say what the story is actually about because I couldn't discern that amidst the cluster of technicolor overload, ridiculously hyperbolic characters, and MTV music videos cinematography. Luhrmann tries too hard to be out of the box and winds up with a total mess here.

I gave it 1 star for the effort and another star for the production. The costumes and staging are wonderful. At least I think they are. The camera moves so fast I'm not sure I actually saw what I saw. Suffice it to say I won't be going anywhere near this film EVER.
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