Chicago (2002)

Chicago (2002)

An Oscar-winnng musical that will leave you in awe of the art and craft of it all

The Very Best

8.2

Movie

Canada, Germany
English, Hungarian
Comedy, Crime, Drama
2002
ROB MARSHALL
Bill Corsair, Blake McGrath, Brendan Wall
113 min

TLDR

One of those "they-don't-make-them-like-this-anymore" kind of musicals.

What it's about

Two women, Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) and Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) await their trials after murdering a man each, in hope that their vaudevillian acts and fame will save them from the gallows.

The take

From a 1926 play to the iconic 1975 stage musical to Rob Marshall's 2002 extravaganza, Chicag0 has had a strong hold on popular culture. In a way, it's existed almost as long as cinema itself and its transformation across mediums and modes of expression has been well documented. The film carries all the marks of its theatrical predecessors, the expansive sets, the luscious costumes, the sleek characters whose banter and songs alike testify to their great chemistry — there's a lot to admire in such a self-referential spectacle. A black-comedy-fuelled musical about corruption and deceit set during the Jazz Age, Chicago fulfils all its promises. With a stellar ensemble cast featuring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, and John C. Reily, in tandem with dazzling camerawork and most exquisite chiaroscuro lighting, this one brings the stage to the movies. I mean it in the best possible way!

What stands out

Rob Marshall directs and choreographs this glorious silver screen rendition of a famed stage musical with finesse and aplomb: it's obvious he got all the green lights he needed to turn Chicago into an ever-expanding wonderland. Not only does this cover the production value and the star-studded cast, but also the feeling of freedom all the actors seem to move with across spaces and places. While not necessarily a dance-centric film, Chicago appreciates the proto-cinematic qualities of capturing movement on screen, coordinated and magical at the same time. There is excess, but always within the framework of good taste; no transgressions doesn't mean boredom. On the contrary, Marshall revitalises the genre by imbuing its past with new life, respectful and panegyric at the same time. 

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