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"Moulin Rouge" - Spectacular, Spectacular!

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"Moulin Rouge" is a vivid assault on the senses. From the opening credits to the final scene, the movie's breathtaking costumes and vibrant production numbers invade your mind and fill your eyes with luscious, sensuous treats. The mix of 19th century Paris and its bohemian underground, over-the-top style and decadence, with music from the late 20th century, creates a film that slides into a category beyond extravagant. This movie takes musicals to a level never before experienced, and which may never be equaled in its exaggerated style. This visually stunning film blends elements that normally would clash, and does it with such panache it's almost painful to watch in its beauty.

Christian, a handsome, young, poet/writer, goes against his father's wishes and moves to Montmartre, Paris. It's the perfect atmosphere for an aspiring young writer who yearns for a freer, more bohemian lifestyle. He meets the artist, Toulouse-Lautrec, after a narcoleptic Argentinean actor falls through the ceiling and ends up hanging upside down in the middle of Christian's apartment. Teaming up with the acting troupe living upstairs and headed by Lautrec, Christian meets and falls hard for the featured star of the Moulin Rouge, sexy, sultry, Satine - the Sparkling Diamond. Together with Lautrec's actors, Satine and Christian create "Spectacular, Spectacular" - a play that Satine hopes will make her a star. Financing is an issue and Satine's boss, Zidler, pins his hopes on a Duke. The Duke agrees to finance the play, and a renovation of the Moulin Rouge, in exchange for a contract that binds Satine to him. Christian and Satine's love must stay hidden to ensure the play will debut. Their love becomes the main storyline for the play within the movie, and allows Satine and Christian to continue their forbidden relationship under the nose of the despicable Duke.

Casting Nicole Kidman as the sexy, erotic, seemingly unattainable, courtesan Satine, and Ewan McGregor as the handsome young writer/poet Christian, was a bit of inspired thinking. Their obvious enjoyment of each other's company exudes sexual energy; their scenes together nearly leaping off the screen. Though neither are known for their singing skills, both manage to pull off their musical numbers with enough bravado and style to make up for any vocal shortcomings. The supporting cast of Richard Roxburgh and Jim Broadbent added the right flair to the film, with both actors giving it that depraved, immoral feeling through their characters. Talented, chameleon-like John Leguizamo was incredibly entertaining as the vertically challenged, addicted to absinthe artist, Toulouse-Lautrec, who sets the doomed love affair in motion.

To be fair, I love Ewan McGregor and would have seen this movie had it been about a man who sits in a chair, alone, watching paint dry. I'd been looking forward to this film and wasn't disappointed with Baz Luhrmann's finished product. "Moulin Rouge" was an incredibly riveting film. Not a scene went by that didn't virtually electrify my senses.

Overall Grade: A

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Producers: Baz Luhrmann, Fred Baron & Martin Brown
Screenplay: Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce
Cinematographer: Donald McAlpine
Film Editor: Jill Bilcock
Production Design: Catherine Martin
Casting: Chris King-Mullinar & Ronna Kress
Set Decoration: Brigitte Broch
Costume Design: Catherine Martin & Angus Strathie

Satine - Nicole Kidman
Christian - Ewan McGregor
Toulouse Lautrec - John Leguizamo
Zidler - Jim Broadbent
Duke - Richard Roxburgh

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