Hurt Squirrels
Moulin Rouge: A Review
7/2/2001 4:54 PM
I thought this movie was pretty damn cool. Sort of an opera hopped up on goofballs. Sure, if you just strip it down to the basic plot, it doesn't seem like much. It's the classic "boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back, girl-dies-tragically-of-tuberculosis" story. Plenty of Shakespearian elements are liberally applied. But it ain't just about the plot, junior. If it doesn't win some sort of Oscar for art direction or costume, I will be utterly amazed.

Not since I saw The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T have I experienced a movie surreal enough to give me that "What the fuck...?" feeling. The musical numbers click along at a dizzying Postmodern rate. I've heard people complain about the anachronistic songs and dialog throughout the movie, but I think they're forgetting that this is a musical. It's using that Musical Logic, where bursting into song in the middle of the street is perfectly acceptable and rival gangs perform intricate dance routines flawlessly. Just go with it, people. It's much easier to believe than watching Winona "I used to make cool movies" Ryder fall in love with Richard "Mayonnaise" Gere.

The casting was terrific. I don't often do the whole gushing over movie stars thing (most of them don't really do that much for me), but I have to admit I find Nicole Kidman quite lovely, especially in this movie. Tom, you are a fool. Also, I've dug everything I've seen Ewan "Obi-Wan" McGregor in so far and Moulin Rouge keeps that streak alive. This brings me to his polar opposite John Leguizamo, who plays Toulouse Lautrec.

I was first subjected to the pain that is John Leguizamo in 1993 when the movie theater I worked at had an extended engagement of Super Mario Brothers. A few years later, he was mysteriously blessed with his own television show, the mercifully short-lived House of Buggin'. I have despised him for some time, but this movie was the first time in recorded memory he did not make me want perform some sort of self-mutilation. John, keep taking roles like this and you may possibly redeem yourself for the anathema that is The Pest.

Go see it. Right away. It'll be better than 95% of the crap that has been/will be released this year. Now, if only absinthe weren't illegal in this country.

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