Jukebox Flash: “Moulin Rouge!”

Baz Luhrmann‘s Moulin Rouge! (2001) is childish—along with colorful, gaudy and sensual—but also, to me, weird fun. By childish I mean cartoonish—inappropriately so. Then again, Satine’s solitary foreplay (provided by Nicole Kidman) may seem silly but it gives way to her pleasant fascination with Christian’s romantic feeling. It’s palatable comedy.

Christian (Ewan McGregor) breaks out in song, of course; the flick is a jukebox musical, which means Luhrmann was free to search the warehouse for tuneful hits. Never mind the unfamiliar stuff. I like quite a few of his choices but, regrettably, all brains and taste break down during the “Roxanne” number. The film’s editor, Jill Bilcock, though, is a successful hard worker, and Donald McAlpine’s cinematography is tasteful and lovely. MR can be ingratiating. When it was released in 2001, it was a big-screen wonder.

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