Chicago (2002)

Directed By: Rob Marshall

113 Minutes

Winner of 6 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

Chicago, which strangely enough was filmed in Vancouver, is a Musical Lover’s best shot at converting their friend’s to musicals. I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a big musical person. I don’t despise them either, but it seems like with the exception of Disney movies; there are little to no musicals that appeal to me. Director Rob Marshall’s silver screen debut is a film that  shall appeal to any movie lover even if they have a Y chromosome.

Renee Zellweger stars as Roxie Hart as a woman who wants to become a star. She eventually kills a man who she was having an affair with for giving her false hopes in her stardom. Roxie is sent to prison where she competes for the attention from the press against another murderess (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who was a big star before her arrest. Richard Gere steals the show, in both the movie and in the plot, as a charming lawyer who can talk/sing his way out of anything. John C. Reilly co stars as Roxie’s schmuck of a husband. Queen Latifah also plays the warden of the all female prison.

The plot is not the main attraction, which it hardly is in musicals anyways. The musical aspect has a really clever way of fitting into the story. The musical portions are all in Roxie’s head, not that she’s delusional. It’s more of a case of her seeing her life as a grand performance which suits her character. Throughout the musical numbers, you’ll see a grand dance performance while they also occasionally cut back to what the characters were doing  in the real world such as girls sitting in their prison cells. It’s so clever and adds a nice layer to the music scenes.

But the main reason why I feel this would change the minds of people who don’t like musicals, is the fact that the songs are amazing. There is nothing worse than a movie cutting from the plot to a random, boring, or annoying song. Not the case here. The songs shall be stuck in your head a long long time afterwards. There are a lot of good variety amongst the songs. There’s a fun, sexual, and fast paced song about 6 girls describing why they are in prison, a heartfelt song from John C. Reilly, and pretty much any song involving Richard Gere is silly, catchy, and cooked to perfection. And that’s another thing, I’m by no means a Richard Gere fan. Or a John C. Reilley, Zeta Jones, Queen Latifah, or Rene Zellweger either. However, not a single character isn’t ultimately charming. You may not always approve of a character’s actions but you’ll be fascinated by what drives them.

A movie in a genre I don’t care much about starring people I could care less about. It was an odd choice of a movie to watch one night, but it really surprised me. I don’t know if I’d say it was necessarily it was the best film of 2002, but it’s up their with Two Towers, Adaptation, Spider-Man, Spirited Away, and Frida. That was one of the things that drew me to it. I wondered how a Musical won best picture, when the Academy rarely let’s something other than a drama win. To put it short, this movie is just plain fun. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

I’d Also Recommend:

-Moulin Rouge

-Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

-All That Jazz