In a dazzling and yet frequently maddening bid to bring the movie-musical kicking and screaming into the 21st century, Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge bears no relation to the many previous films set in the famous Parisian nightclub. This may appear to be Paris in the 1890s with can-can dancers, bohemian denizens like Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) and ribaldry at every turn, but it's really Luhrmann's pop-cultural wonderland, where everyone and everything is encouraged (in the third of Luhrmann's "red-curtain" extravaganzas, following Strictly Ballroom and Romeo & Juliet) to shatter boundaries of time and texture, colliding and careening in a fast-cutting frenzy that thinks nothing of casting Elton John's "Your Song" 80 years before its time. Still, there's something genuine brewing between costars Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman (as, respectively, a poor writer and his unobtainable object of desire), and their vocal talents are impressive enough to match Luhrmann's orgy of extraordinary sets, costumes and digital wizardry---Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Baz Luhrmann takes a shot at reinventing Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet as a visual pastiche inspired by MTV imagery, Hong Kong action-picture clichés, and Luhrmann's own taste for deliberate, gaudy excess. The result is explosive chaos, both in terms of bullets and visual sensibility, which some may find impossible to stick with for more than a few minutes. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the leads, though not with much distinction, while Pete Postlethwaite makes a huge impression as this movie's version of Friar Laurence. The film is successful in spots, but overall its fever-dream game plan is difficult to ride out.