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Moulin Rouge

July 29th, 2019   |   Updated on February 14th, 2022

In 1900, Christian, an impoverished writer who has come from England the year before, types his story: he arrived in Montmartre and fell in with Toulouse-Lautrec and Bohemians who believe in freedom, truth, beauty, and love. They want to sell a show to the Moulin Rouge, and its impresario wants a backer so he can build a proper theatre.

Christian’s playing a duke, who wants exclusive access to the favors of Satine, the Moulin Rouge’s consumptive star. She wants to be a proper actress, so the duke’s offer is fine – except that she and Christian fall in love. Can Satine keep the Duke at bay without losing his patronage, will he discover the lovers and kill Christian, and can love trump jealousy?

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Movie Reviews: “Moulin Rouge

Movie Review: Newsweek

Baz Luhrmann’s deliriously energetic, promiscuously postmodern, tragicomical musical “Moulin Rouge” starts at such a frenetic level I thought it was going to self-destruct before it even got started. Imagine a Ken Russell movie run at double speed. We are hurled into a make-believe, studio-constructed Paris in “the summer of love,” 1899, a decadent bohemian paradise startlingly stocked with 20th-century cultural artifacts.

Instead of Offenbach, we get “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) hums “The Sound of Music.” In Luhrmann’s Montmartre, the moon has a smiling face, lovers dance on clouds and a beautiful courtesan (Nicole Kidman) falls in love with a penniless poet (Ewan McGregor) when he serenades her with Elton John’s “Your Song.”

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Movie Review: Daily Mail

Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann’s £50 million extravaganzas, is a work of astounding artistic audacity, bursting with grand camp and verve: you marvel at the sheer cheek of it. A naive poet (Ewan McGregor) arrives in Paris in 1900 to live in the artistic quarter of Montmartre. He meets Toulouse-Lautrec and musician Eric Satie, who take him to the local nightclub, Moulin Rouge.

The star of the show, a courtesan called Satine (Nicole Kidman), enters on a trapeze from the roof and Ewan is smitten. They then fall in love while creating a musical spectacular to save the Moulin Rouge from The Duke, who threatens to repossess the club unless Satine becomes his lover.

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Richard Roxborough always does a good baddy and suits it well here but the character is still too flat to be of any interest and the accent is really irritating after a while. Most of the other cast members have such few lines they’re not really much more than extras, and I would’ve loved to have seen more with the likes of Caroline O’Connor. Others like John Leguizamo are wasted – there’s basically no sub-plots in this movie with all the action centering around the decent but overdone love story – it’s fine for the first hour maybe but drawn out over two it feels way overstretched.

While the script is on bare legs, everything else about the movie is not. The costumes are stunning, the sets rich and colorful like nothing you’ve seen, the cinematography and Luhrmann’s directing is adventurous, rousing and handled with deft touch. This takes the modern-day music video style way of filming movies and moves it to a whole new level, in fact, the first 10 minutes in the Moulin Rouge club itself with the can scene is SO fast one feels like they’re going to faint from exhaustion just trying to keep up – its like Michael Bay on steroids.

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