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Moulin Rouge!

Reviewed By John Smith
Posted 04/27/02 12:13:55

"Hook!"
3 stars (Average)

While I enjoyed many moments of this unusual film, I hated many more, and, for the most part, couldn't wait for it to end.

This, for me, is a film made for silly gay men. Like a Kylie Minogue album, "Moulin Rouge" is full of stock romantic cliche, delivered with a fizzy, high tempo beat and cringe-making, hope-my-parents-don't-find-out-I-smoke self-consciousness.

Luhrman promisees a story about Love, and he delivers - God knows, this movie is about nothing else - but it's love of the school-canteen variety. "Moulin Rouge" could have been funny, and musical, without being so light. If you were expecting "Rent" meets "La Dolce Vita", as I was, you'll be disappointed, for "Moulin Rouge" is "Grease" with a facelift: a high-tech, 21st Century version of a very tired genre.

Only a virgin could possibly see Nicole Kidman as Queen of the Whores. Are you serious? This pale-skinned actress has as much sexual charge as a snowflake, and her acting here is worse than ever.

Never was the low standard of her performance more obvious than at the recent Acadmey Awards, where she shared Best Actress clips with Halle Berry, Judi Dench, Sissy Spacek and Renee Zellwegger. When Kidman - as Satine - appeared, I laughed out loud. Up against those gifted performers, she looked completely out of place. An accomplished television actress in Australia before hitting Hollywood, Kidman seems to know nothing about the size of the big screen, and, in every movie I've seen her in, she seems straining to fill it.

Luhrman should, really, have stopped at "Romeo and Juliet". That was an excellent film, synergising his use of music, his real-life partner Catherine Martin's sets and costumes, and his obvious gifts for capturing romance. Spunky Clare Danes, too, is a better female lead than the clunking Kidman.

Those who champion this film should see "Amelie". There, they will see how fantasia and emotion can be brought together, using lots of clever techno-tricks, without producing a film like "Moulin Rouge", which to me was like being stuck in the girls toilets at a shrill suburban nightclub, locked in a cubicle during a two hour blackout.

One star for the costumes, one star for the Paris skyline (including singing moon), and one for Ewan McGregor singing "Your Song".

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