Well overall, I thought this was good film. I’m a bit hesitant because it takes a while getting used to ‘Moulin Rouge!’, but once you’re full into the flow, you are warped into this forbidden romance and sucked into the life of the theatre called Moulin Rouge. You are thrown straight into this colourful, busy life, fast pace right away. For a first time watcher, this does take a while getting familiar with what is happening, why it is happening and who these people are. The introduction of the film has many characters involved, well it kind of has to when the film is about a theatre show; there’s the audience and those involved, then their hidden lives behind the scenes.
Technically, the film is a story about a play about a life, within the story is their lives… But that’s just confusing it. There is a narrator of the story, in present time, writing his story on his life and love with Satine (Nicole Kidman). This narrator is Christian (Ewan McGregor). These two characters are of course played brilliantly. But that’s obvious, I bet most people have seen a film with at least one of these actors in this film in. There are many other characters, but I will mention the few that are significant parts in the film. Firstly, Toulouse (John Leguizamo), his character is comical, yet kind, a character you can trust to be loyal, while making a comedy of the film. Then there’s the main leader of the theatre, this is Harold Zidler (played by Jim Broadbent – obviously familiar as Horace Slughorn in ‘Harry Potter’, but also the father in ‘The Borrowers’). His character is brilliant, he is very over the top, but Broadbent plays this so well to hold the representation of the Moulin Rouge theatre. He is a very eccentric character, but again one also comical, yet as the film proceeds you see more of a darker side to this character, one determined in his belief of the Moulin Rouge. Then finally, there’s the Duke (Richard Roxburgh). The Duke was just extremely creepy, but then again he is the villain of the film and I think he is supposed to give that essence to the film. He added a thriller genre to the film in a way. He was just a really horrible character, all his facial expressions were over the top creepy, yeah, he’s definitely a character to dislike. To say the least.
The film is based in the underbelly of Paris in the late 19th century. This means there are many references to sex, some extremely awkward and cringey moments in the film, to say the least. Satine prostitutes herself to try and get out of the underbelly of Paris and into the bright lights of becoming an actress. The theatre is one similar to a night club with can-can dancing and flashy clothes, Satine being the centre of the theatre as a simple of beauty to be looked at, but also more. Therefore, what I’m trying to say is that it is definitely a film for older ages.
Anyway, the film is a musical. Although, unlike many musicals it is one of popular songs, songs you will recognise, not specific to the musical itself. The love medley is one with lots of recognisable love songs within it; The Beatles’ ‘All You Need is Love’, David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. There are plenty of songs you will recognise; Elton John’s ‘Your Song’, Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, many others. So not seeing the film before you can still enjoy and sing along to the songs. Which, I have to admit, is a nice change to a musical. Of course an important part of a musical is to have good singers, and this film definitely does. Nicole Kidman has a brilliant voice, she makes some songs amazing and enjoyable to watch, and Ewan McGregor doesn’t have too bad of a voice either.
Overall, after coming to understand what was happening in the film and getting used to the extremely quick pace and occasional stupid special effects, I was warped in and really started to enjoy it. I have to admit at the start, the words ‘what is happening?’ and ‘really???’, ‘huh??’, ‘oh come on you’ve just met her!’, were going through my head. But then all the emotions of the film started to feel more realistic and these words disappeared. This is a film of many emotions, some over the top, comedic moments, forbidden love turns into a romance tragedy, not giving anything away. A film of tense drama and thrilling moments, with a musical of love and ridiculousness. This is definitely a film which changes genres; but don’t get me wrong, because there are comical elements does not mean it is a comedy, it is far from it.
It’s very different to many other musicals, but perhaps that is the only reason you should watch it, if you haven’t already.