As a girl, if there was a film that I had to recommend for a quiet night in with that significant other or to have the girls round to watch; making popcorn, passing the champagne bottle around etc etc, it would definitely and undeniably have to be ‘Moulin Rouge!’
‘Moulin Rouge!’ (2001) is a wild and zany musical set in Paris during the time of the French revolution and I must say, it has to be one of my all-time favourite films.
The film tells the story of a fresh and innocent writer named Christian (Ewan McGregor). He has travelled from London to experience Paris and all that comes with it in the hopes that it shall inflame his passion to write, as it has with so many others. While there he becomes entangled with a failing stage company run by Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) who persuades him to pitch a play to the devious, circus ringleader Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent), the manager of the famed night-club The Moulin Rouge. Along the way Christian falls in love with the young and gorgeous courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) who, as we find out has been promised by Zidler to the perverse, high-class nobleman who we only know as ‘The Duke’ (Richard Roxburgh). The film tells the story of Christian and Satine’s ‘Forbidden Love’ as they produce the Moulin Rouge’s first ever stage play.
I’ll be honest, I J’adore this story. It’s first and foremost a musical-comedy-drama and deserves to be watched by everyone whether young or old. The story is told in such a way that it is easy to get totally sucked in and feel personally involved with the beautifully written characters. The writer has done an amazing job to keep the audience hooked throughout the film and has portrayed the Moulin Rouge, the REAL nightclub in the perfect way, especially for the time in which it's set.
On first impressions the film can be said to simply be an explosion of wild colour and music, look closer however and it is obvious to see that it is so much more than that. The striking scenes are complimented by a running theme similar to that of the 1996 'Romeo+Juliet', also a Baz Luhrmann film. He seems to be fond of the effect which draws an audience into the zone, bringing a unique buzz to the experience and leaving the viewer feeling wholly satisfied.
Being a musical I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. Reading about the story before, I wasn’t sure how the writer would put across the seriousness of the plot without making a mockery out if it. With my doubts still intact I watched it.
The first thing to strike me was the use of old film grain for the introduction, this is complimented with the first song introducing the main character. If I can be honest it was a tiny bit cheesy but then made up for it when the camera zooms towards Christian sitting at his typewriter. The use of lighting in this scene is simply beautiful and really makes the audience feel the emotion that is going through Christians head as he talks about his loss (Spoilers!) I found I could really connect with him as he tells his story about coming to Paris.
I won’t talk that much about what happens as I really do not want to spoil it for the rest of you although I will say this; the ending is expected but also at the same time unexpected. You get so involved with the story that you will forget about the inevitable which makes the ending as hard-hitting as it can be.
Overall, as you can probably tell, I fully enjoyed this film. It will play with your emotions, drawing you up one moment and then dragging you down the next. I would recommend it to absolutely everyone who can appreciate the beauty of theatre combined with a love of cinematography and then sprinkled with a delightful amount of the 'Green Fairy'. The sheer effort that must have gone into this film is staggering and I hope those who haven’t seen it have the chance to watch it as soon as possible.