I have this image of Baz Luhrmann as a little boy, sitting before a papier-mache house in the Australian outback next to toy trucks painted in bright colors and toy soldiers dressed in tutus. Sometime after Strictly Ballroom, Luhrmann must have come across the kind of budget that would pamper to his youthful, wide-eyed obsession with the color wheel. Less a filmmaker than circus ringleader, Luhrmann transforms Moulin Rouge into the biggest party since Steve Rubbel and Ian Shrager’s Studio 54. His Moulin Rouge is a hyper-energized house of burlesque where women like Satine (Nicole Kidman) pillage the hearts of men with their coy declarations of love. This pseudo-whore mistakenly falling in love with writer Christian (Ewan McGregor), thinking him to be the Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh), the man who will supposedly turn the gorgeous can-can chanteuse into the best actress since Sarah Bernhardt. Less a film than a collection of short music video clips, Moulin Rouge is a celebration of artifice that is at once glorious and exhilarating as it is loud, soulless, and obnoxious. Despite some remarkable musical pastiches and riveting set pieces, this postmodern wank-job doesn’t have much of a heart. If you like sugar highs, though, Moulin Rouge will not disappoint.
- Baz Luhrmann
- Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
- Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Lequizamo, Jim Broadbent, Jacek Koman, Kerry Walker, Matthew Whittet, Gary McDonald, Caroline, O'Connor, Lara Mulcahy, Richard Roxbourgh
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: