Moulin Rouge

Though I still like John Huston’s 1952 movie with the same title a bit more, this steamroller by Baz Luhrmann about 1899 Paris and 2001 pop TVa definite improvement over the repulsive Strictly Ballroomis diverting, energetic, and even reasonably satisfying, so long as you aren’t looking for a real musical to take its place. What it mainly reminded me of were some of Ken Russell’s better romps in the 70s (The Devils, The Music Lovers, and, best of all, Savage Messiah), with roughly the same amount of feeling, nerve, and postmodernist extravagance (though they weren’t calling it postmodernism back then). The central mythical archetypesthe cabaret star and courtesan (Nicole Kidman), the evil duke she’s promised to, and the penniless writer (Ewan McGregor) she’s in love withare handled with feeling and panache. Craig Pearce collaborated with Luhrmann on the script. PG-13, 126 min. (JR)

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