A famous courtesan, a narcoleptic Argentinean, a bohemian midget, and a young man in search of love welcome to your grandmother's musical, steeped in absinthe and cut to satisfy the MTV generation. Baz Luhrman's third and final entry to his Red Curtain series is Moulin Rouge. It is a vision of compelling musical choices, lightning fast edits and supersaturated colors, with a pair of stars whose chemistry will make the most jaded of us believe in love again.
The movie takes us to the Mont Martre section of Paris, where the young writer Christian (Ewan McGregor) has gone to find love and the bohemian way of life at the Moulin Rouge, the infamous Parisian nightclub of can-can fame. Before you can say, big red windmill, he has met up with Toulouse-Lautrec, who introduces him to Satine (Nicole Kidman), a famous courtesan whose only desire is to become "a real actress-. Zidler (Jim Broadbent), part nightclub ringmaster and equal part pimp, has bigger things in mind for his young whore. Satine is to belong to the Duke (Richard Roxboro), who will make Satine a real actress, and bring the Moulin Rouge and Zidler the fame he craves by producing a musical, set within the musical. The fates conspire to throw these Christian and Satine together, but the fates are once again cruel, for Satine is dying of consumption As the passion play takes shape, so does the love between Satine and Christian, leading to an inevitable showdown between the Duke and him. In the end, Satine comes to believe the movie's refrain that "the greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return-.
You know that the musical choices are going to be offbeat from the onset, when a hallucinatory fairy flits onto the screen and starts belting out Julie Andrew's anthem to the hills and the sound of music. The score runs the lyrical gamut of the twentieth century, with songs as far flung as Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy-, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit-, Sweet's "Love Is Like Oxygen-, and Elton John's "Your Song-.