A celebration of love and creative inspiration takes place in the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub, at the cusp of the 20th century. A young poet, who is plunged into the heady world of Moulin Rouge, begins a passionate affair with the club's most notorious and beautiful star.
Moulin Rouge has many things to like about it, but comes off as inconsistent at times. All of the actors were top notch. I believe it was Nicole Kidman's best performance of her career. Ewan McGregor usually doesn't add a lot of depth to his characters, but in this movie it was ample. Jim Broadbent was charismatic and Richard Roxburgh was a very convincing pervert, right down to his posture. I liked how well they developed each of these characters. The rest of the actors were also excellent, but the story didn't lend much depth to their character, and they simply came off as a backdrop or environment for the main four, often becoming a writers convenience or becoming a set of eyes we could see through from the outside looking in. There were so many parts I enjoyed about this movie, more particularly the segments where Kidman and McGregor's relationship was explored. This made for a great second act of the movie. The first and third act I felt suffered from Baz Luhrmann's rapid, almost epileptic, editing style. His style is not not for everyone, but particularly in this movie, it didn't allow for much depth of the movie in the first and third act and came off as flashy and showy. This created pacing issues that I felt if he had slowed down and focused more on the characters instead of fitting as many shots into the move that he could, the story would have flowed a lot better. The other major inconsistency of the movie was the theme it was building towards, and the theme it ultimately landed on. Throughout the entire movie, they are building a theme of faith in love no matter what the outcome, but the last minute and a half of the movie turns it into a tragedy that I felt was unwarranted and unearned. This would have been a palpable ending if the movie showed the characters doubting that maybe love wasn't enough, and then a tragedy strikes that proves the point. But instead we have the ending segment that shows us that all this guy's belief in love was absolutely for not, and that we are left to assume he must have been faking his belief the entire time, because it sure didn't seem like enough for him. This isn't about always getting a happy ending, it's about not getting an ending that was a cheap and quick way to evoke a particular emotion in the audience without really building into. It felt rushed, and again, unearned. (And I'm not talking about the actual event, but more about how the event affected the character.) Otherwise, I really wanted to enjoy this movie more than I did. An excellent second act with outstanding performances and likable characters, but with the pacing issues and inconsistencies in building a movie that naturally flowed from one idea to the next keeps me from rating it higher. All in all, though, a fairly enjoyable and rewatch able film nonetheless.
I could go on why I enjoyed this film - heck, I reviewed this 3 times on Letterbox! But the one simple word I can best describe Moulin Rouge, is poignant. This film give a poignant feeling whenever I get the chance to see this it. The glits, the glamour, the music & the story. This is the perfect love story. Ewan McGreggor and Nicole Kidman were terrific. I recommend this film as a Valentine's treat!