Moulin Rouge (2001)

With the release of this 2001 musical comic-tragedy, Moulin Rouge took the world of entertainment to new heights; with never before seen filming techniques that dazzled audiences around the globe. Set in the 1900 Montmartre district of Paris, France, during the rise of the Bohemian culture, Director Baz Luhrmann goes above and beyond to deliver an epic depiction of “truth, beauty, freedom, and above all things love”, in this modern adaption of a timeless tale. Staring a carefully selected cast, based on stage and vocal talents, Nicole Kidman (Satine) and Ewan McGregor (Christian), among many other talented actors, worked together to create an on-screen chemistry that delighted, angered, surprised and saddened movie-goers of all spectrums.

Moulin Rouge is a cleverly thought out film that takes its audience on a rollercoaster of emotions from opening act to final curtain call. The story begins with the young and innocent Christian (McGregor), relocating to the sinful city of Paris, to pursue his aspirations of becoming a famous writer. Once there, he is immediately recognized for his gifted talents in expressing the idealisms of the Bohemian culture and taken under wing by performer Toulouse-Lautrec (played by John Leguizamo) to complete a controversial play for its era. In an attempt to secure production of the “sure to be a hit” play Spectacular, Spectacular; Christian is ushered into the exotic underworld of provocative can-can dancers and alluring courtesans, the Moulin Rouge, so that he may win the approval of the star courtesan, Satine (Kidman); who is early on made known to have the terminal-illness of tuberculosis. Unaware that Satine is promised to the Duke of Monroth (played by Richard Roxburgh), a potential investor required for the survival of the diminishing night club, Christian engages in a “private meeting” supposedly pre-arranged by Toulouse; where Satine mistakes the penny-less writer for none other than the Duke himself, and falls hopelessly in love with him. As the seemingly comedic plot thickens, the two lovers secure investment for the play through the actual Duke, but are forced to hide their affections throughout the course of production. Things dramatically take a turn for the worse when the hot-headed Duke learns of the affair and starts to impose his own arrogantly derived ideals on the production of the play, and forces Satine to give herself to him in order for the show to go on. With the lively hood of the Moulin Rouge resting solely in Satine’s hands, she is forced to make a decision between her life-long dream of becoming a star and the simplistic beauty of just being loved.

Boasting an Academy Award for Best Art Direction, Moulin Rouge tested the limits of digital capabilities with over three hundred visual effects contributing the spectacular displays elegantly delivered on screen. Visual effects supervisor Chris Godfrey, along with the team at Animal Logic (visual effects house), were given the task of creating imperfection, by Luhrmann and production designer Catherine Martin, through altering imagery to convey the illusion of a handmade production. With flawless transitions from 2D to 3D atmospheres, audiences are sure to enjoy a unique experience filled with bright lights, dazzling costumes, exotically enchanting backdrops and spontaneously stunning camera angles.

If the genre “Musical” is the only thing holding you back from giving Moulin Rouge a spin, fear not my movie going friends! This film is jam-packed with some of most popular hits from practically all genres of music, receiving a nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. From Nirvana to Madonna, Nat King Cole to Queen, and Elton John to David Bowie; with the combined pop-star efforts of Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, Missy Elliott and Pink performing “Lady Marmalade”, the first chart-topping hit single released for the soundtrack; Moulin Rouge is sure to keep toes tapping and audiences singing along no matter what their musical preference may be.

Overall, Moulin Rouge is a comically energetic, highly entertaining and tragically passionate story that fully embraces the conflicting ideals of “truth, beauty, freedom and above all things love”.  Already being recognized as a cult classic, being placed in a category with such notable films as A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Evil Dead (1983) and Donnie Darko (2001), Moulin Rouge is a must-see film for movie-buffs of all generations!

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