Chicago MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   Afterthe critical and commercial success of "Moulin Rouge," one questionremained in the minds of moviemakers and moviegoers alike: are movie musicals"in" again? Are there even enough stars to pull off straining songs andsweaty dance numbers? Well, after seeing "Chicago," I have an answer:Yes, and yes. Whether you loved or hated "Moulin Rouge," put it out ofyour mind, because "Chicago" is a must-see for any moviebuff.

It's the 1920s, and fame in Chicago is as quick as a blink. Butapparently no one ever told this to Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger), a bittersweetbut naïve dreamer. Without ever thinking of the consequences of celebritystatus, she is ready to plunge into the world of show biz and become like heridol, club singer Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

Roxie's dreams offame and stage time have to wait when she finds herself charged with the murderof her lying, abusive boyfriend, whom she shot in a blind rage. The police don'tbelieve her "burglar" story, and Roxie is in danger of being given themaximum sentence.

In jail, she meets Velma again. Charged with killing hercheating sister and husband, Velma strikes a deal with prison matron Mama Morton(Queen Latifah) that will get her the top lawyer in Illinois. Roxie gets wind ofthis bargain, and with a little help, she gets the $5,000 necessary to beassigned to Billy Flynn (Richard Gere).

A tap-dancing lawyer who hasnever lost a case, Billy is Roxie's meal ticket to every newspaper in the state.Roxie, with her blond locks, doe-like eyes and innocent grin becomes"America's sweetest murderer."

I never saw the stage version of"Chicago," but it couldn't be better than the singing/dancingextravaganza I saw onscreen. Never have I seen a cast pour out their souls andtheir talents to such a degree. Director Rob Marshall somehow managed to bringout nothing but the best in his performing team.

"Chicago" ledthe Golden Globe race with eight nominations, winning in three categories: bestactor and actress in a musical/comedy and best musical. It has a very good chanceof leading the Oscar race as well. The cast is picture perfect, from the stars tothe rail-thin background dancers. I'd heard about Catherine Zeta-Jones's musicalexperience in her native Wales, and it turns out the lady can belt and tap like aBroadway star. Her Velma Kelly is such a spitfire that you're literally stuck inyour seat and pinned to the screen.

What about Richard Gere? ReneeZellweger? I was curious about these two, especially when I discovered that Reneehad never sung or danced. I should have given her the benefit of the doubt,because she proves to be a true triple-threat! Renee has the rare ability tobring a dash of vulnerability to even the coldest of characters, and because ofher talent, we get to see two sides to Roxie - the innocent, dumb blonde and theconniving, evil murderess. But it is her dancing and vocals I paid attention to,and she's a natural. With "Funny Honey," "Roxie" and"Nowadays," her singing is as breathy and soft as her speaking voice.She's a real treat to listen to.

As Billy Flynn, Richard Gere seems to behaving the most fun. His singing in "Razzle Dazzle" and "All ICare About" is better than average, but not exceptional. His acting,however, is among the best I've seen all year. He is, without a doubt, theperfect choice for this role.

Special kudos go to Queen Latifah as MamaMorton. She adds great humor where it is needed, and her solo, "When You'reGood to Mama" - well, you have to hear it for yourself.

So forgetany doubts you may have about this film. Whether you love or hate the actors, thestage show, love or hate movie musicals - put all that out of your head and enjoythe show. There's no doubt about it, "Chicago" is my kind of town.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

i love this so much!


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!