Film Review: Chicago (2002)

Posted by prla1983 on October 11, 2005 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

"This trial... the whole world... it's all... show business."

So says Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), a hot-shot Chicago attorney who makes his living by saving young girls who happen to have killed someone from getting the rope around their beautiful necks. And allow me to add "this whole movie" to that sentence I just quoted. In a non-derogatory manner, by the way, because "Chicago" is show business from beginning to end and that's its very soul.

In this case, if you are a woman and want to make the front page of the newspapers, the best way seems to be killing your husband, getting caught by the cops and getting Flynn to take over your case in court. That and $5,000. The rest is, as they say, history. And rightly so because you'll go down as quickly as you went up, as soon as the girl next door does the same thing you did. Because it's Chicago, and "you can't beat fresh blood on the walls", as Flynn tells Roxie (Renée Zellwegger), the new kid on the block as she finds out her fifteen minutes of fame have ran out.

My advice is that you don't go see "Chicago" looking for a whodunnit kind of thriller involving cabarets and stage dancers. Instead, if "Moulin Rouge" bringing the musical genre back to the spotlight pleased you, this one is also definitely for your liking. I'm no expert in this kind of movie (it's not even my cup of tea) and so I have a hard time figuring out whether what we have here is story interrupted by songs or songs interrupted by story.

That duality brings an interesting quality to the film, though. Whereas the songs are full of color and splendor in good Broadway tradition, the rest is shown in bleak tones, suiting 1930's Chicago. The story however is never to be taken seriously, but always lightly. It makes sense but it is also goofy in a way.

The acting is all great and it's no wonder because a) they're all accomplished actors and b) most have stage formation and experience. Zeta-Jones is especially hot and on the spot as Velma Kelly, as her past as a professional dancer in London really shows. I just don't know if this performance is Oscar worthy but then again that's a tricky business. Scorsese must be thinking the same thing after his "Gangs of New York" was put out to dry...


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