Moulin Rouge (2001)

Directed by Baz Luhrmann

“What is too stupid to be spoken, is sung.”
– Voltaire –

I have revised my original opinion of Moulin Rouge (see original below). While I still hold to what I first wrote, that first assessment didn’t communicate how much I like the film. After a second viewing, I like it even more. But I still think it’s really stupid. (Is this an essential element of a good musical? That it make no sense?)

The movie is one of those rare instances where the story doesn’t matter. The stunning visual look, editing, and music utterly negate the need for one. It will be interesting to see how this movie holds up over time, though. Will it have an appeal once fashions change and new cinematic styles take over and the originality of its look is no longer original?

As for my first thoughts, they were these:

Moulin Rouge is the most colourful and entertaining stupid movie I have ever seen. What were they thinking?

I can’t figure out if the whole thing is a joke or a serious attempt to make a musical for the 21st century. It must be serious, given the amount of money spent on it. But … Wow! What a stupid film!

Of course, I should point out that most of the reviews I’ve come across seem to love this movie. And I admit to being none too fond of musicals. I’ve just never been able to get into them. They just seem so … so … silly.

In this case, the movie is like a very long music video – all quick cuts and and flash that form an amalgam of disparate images. It’s visual gibberish. But damned entertaining! (Still … What were they thinking?)

Moulin Rouge – 1899. What better setting for a medley of old 70’s and 80’s pop tunes like “Your Song,” “Silly Love Songs,” or David Bowie’s “Heroes?”

Compounding the bizarre quality the setting and music create, is a storyline of sorts that is … dumb? And the dialogue … Reversing Voltaire’s comment above about opera. In this movie what is too stupid to be sung is spoken.

Anyway … despite all this, it really is entertaining. And the pictures are pretty and engaging. But … Wow!

What a stupid movie!

© 2003 Piddleville Inc.

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