Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Jonathan and I fancied a seeing a film today, and took the subway to Times Square. We decided on Moulin Rouge, bought our tickets in a huge multiplex, and made our way up, up, up, to Screen 22.

Moulin Rouge is a curate's egg. When it's good, it's stunning: a huge, lavish, Faberge egg, with gaw-JUSS sets, dizzying tricksy camera work, fabulous set pieces. Over-egged? And then some. When it's bad, though, it's a stinker, a rotten egg. [What's with all this egg symbolism, Sim?]

For a film about how love triumphs over greed, it is a pity that the best bits are those where Luhrmann has thrown huge wads of cash at the screen. The 'tender' love scenes are dreadfully mawkish. I did notice a glint in the eye of the blogger next to me, and mine sparkled a couple of times, particularly in the scene where Nicole Kidman's character, knowing she is dying, sings Queen's The Show Must Go On - "my make-up may be flaking, but my smile still stays on". A moving reminder of Freddie Mercury, who knew he was dying when he wrote it.

Luhrmann's use of well-known pop songs throughout Moulin Rouge is sometimes inspired - the sight of Jim Broadbent singing Like A Virgin in a Busby Berkeley production number will stay with me. The 'elephant love medley', on the other hand [where Kidman and McGregor serenade each other with lurve songs] is dull, dull, dull.

So it's hugely flawed, but go see. For the production design, for the exhausting opening sequence, for Nicole Kidman acting Ewan McGregor off the screen with one eyebrow, go see!

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