Red Windmill Surrealism
Release Date: May 18, 2001
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor,
John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent,
& Richard Roxburgh
Genre: Musical Drama
Audience: Older teenagers & adults
Runtime: 126 minutes
Distributor: 20th Cent. Fox
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Producer: Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann &
Writer: Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce
Address Comments To:Tom Rothman & Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. & News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 369-1000
Set in a Paris nightclub in 1900 (although you would have never have guessed it by the modern musical score), MOULIN ROUGE grabs viewers’ attention right away. With the help of a computer-generated conductor leading the audience from the opening credits through a barrage of digital camera effects to the first scene, the audience is whisked into the world and lives of the “Red Windmill” or the Moulin Rouge.
Thus, it doesn’t take long for a viewer to realize that he is in for something truly different. From the colorful and comedic cast of characters to the amazingly beautiful and elaborate set designs, the movie overloads the senses with sounds and images. These are combined with an edgy shooting style, digital editing effects, many comical sound effects, and unique renditions of modern songs from Madonna, Elton John and the Beatles to THE SOUND OF MUSIC. From the opening scenes, the experience of watching MOULIN ROUGE becomes like, well, a fast and furious, drug induced, frenzied, roller coaster ride . . . and the movie’s only getting started!
The advertising for this movie tells people that the story is about truth, beauty, freedom, but above all . . . love. It also could be about suspicion, jealousy, denial, and betrayal . . . viewers will have to be the final judge (not including God, of course, who is the Ultimate Judge of the Universe).
In the story, a writer named Christian, played by Ewan McGregor (Obi-wan Kenobi in THE PHANTOM MENACE) searches for love. Nicole Kidman plays Satine, the city's most famous courtesan, who is in search of more fame. Her admirer, the Duke of Worchester, played by Richard Roxburgh, is in search of Satine.
Hardened by life, Satine works as a dancer and a star attraction at the Moulin Rouge, but Satine doesn’t want to be a dancer her entire life; she dreams to be an actress. When Christian, the writer, weaves his poetic magic on her through song, he makes her believe that she could attain her dream. The Duke’s obsession for her intervenes, however, leading to tragedy.
There are many surprises in this film. Kidman’s performance is riveting. McGregor has a set of pipes that will have everyone talking. Furthermore, the soundtrack is sure to hit high on the charts. It’s also great to see some songs from yesteryear making a comeback in MOULIN ROUGE.
The director, Baz Luhrman (STRICTLY BALLROOM and ROMEO + JULIET), does a nice job. In describing his movie, which is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, the poet who descends to the underworld in search of ideal love, Luhrman says, “It’s a myth about idealism and adulthood, and the recognition that life throws up things beyond our control: the death of loved ones, relationships that don’t last. According to the Orphean myth, this will either destroy you, or you’ll go into the underworld, face it and return having grown from the experience.” Thus, Christian’s character in the movie finds himself plunged into the decadent world of the Moulin Rouge where anything goes – except falling in love.
The problem with all this, however, is that the movie’s romantic worldview promotes erotic frenzy in the name of love. Although there are no profanities or obscenities, MOULIN ROUGE includes discussion about sex, much implied sexuality, some crude sexual references, and aggressive erotic dancing, just to cite a few examples. Much of this is done in a tongue-in-cheek manner, however.
Finally, if you were to combine SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, LUMINATA, Mel Brooks’ THE PRODUCERS, and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, you would be close to the feel of MOULIN ROUGE. It's that artistic and bizarre.
From the colorful and comedic cast of characters to the amazingly beautiful and elaborate set designs, MOULIN ROUGE overloads the senses with sounds and images. These are combined with an edgy shooting style, digital editing effects, many comical sound effects, and unique renditions of modern songs from Madonna, Elton John and the Beatles to THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The problem with all this, however, is that the movie’s romantic worldview promotes erotic frenzy in the name of love. Although there are no profanities or obscenities, there is discussion about sex, much implied sexuality, some crude sexual references, and aggressive erotic dancing, just to cite a few examples