Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Chicago (2002) - ★★★★★

Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: Bill Condon, Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb, Maurine Dallas Watkins
Stars: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah, Christine Baranski, Dominic West, Colm Feore, Lucy Liu, Mya

I know a whole bunch of people who call this the most overrated movie of all time. It's because of this, that I call it one of the most underrated movies of all time. Sure, it won six Oscars including Best Picture, but now all you hear these days is people bitch and moan about how The Pianist or The Two Towers should have won. In my opinion, Chicago is one of the greatest musicals of all time. It's filled to the brim with some of the greatest songs in cinematic history, stunning performances, hilarious dialogue, and zany vaudevillian dance numbers! From start to finish I was enthralled with this film. As a lover of musicals, dancing, acting and movies, I can tell you that this is an all round perfect film.

Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the sexy vaudeville star who murders her husband and sister after finding them in bed together. Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) is the wannabe vaudeville star who kills her lover after finding out he was never going to make her famous. They find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago. Enter Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), the greasy lawyer whose goal is not only to have his clients acquitted, but to make them legends. With help from Matron Mama Morton (Queen Latifah), both women vie for the spot as Illinois's most famed murderess, but there's only room for one legend. 

Without a doubt, the greatest thing about Chicago is the musical numbers. Every single one of them different, every single one as memorable as the last. I honestly cannot pick a favorite song! Let's just say that I sang my heart out the whole way through. If you don't like musicals, then you're going to hate this movie! Why bother watching it? This is a film for people who can appreciate REAL talented actors and actresses that can not only act, but sing and dance! This film is heaven for almost every single lover of musicals, because it has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time.

Renee Zellweger was magnificent, playing a feisty and ditzy blonde that wants nothing more than to become a star. It's so hard to believe she played Bridget Jones just one year earlier. She lost so much weight for this role, and she just knocked it right out of the park! Her musical numbers were full of personality, they had real pizazz! At first I thought there'd be no way she could pull off the character, but once again she proved me wrong. Zellweger is one of the most underrated actresses of all time, because in the space of three years she managed to play an English spinster, a ditzy vaudevillian murderess, and a feisty Southern tomboy. 

The supporting cast each gave such memorable and stunning performances too! My favorite coming from none other than Catherine Zeta-Jones. She thoroughly deserved her Oscar, bringing strength, hilarity, and a deep rich voice to the film. It's her career defining moment, though she'll always be Mariette from The Darling Buds of May in my eyes. 

Queen Latifah blew me away when she performed "When You're Good to Mama." That song resonates in my head every now and then. It's amazing how memorable her character was, even though she wasn't in the film anywhere near as much as the others. Her strong voice, sassy personality, and bosom busting costumes make me smile :) 

John C. Reilly gave a sweet, sensitive, amazing performance as the pitiful and "forgetful" Amos. Reilly will be remembered for a lot of things, such as Step Brothers, Magnolia, Walk Hard and Wreck-It Ralph. To me, his most memorable performance is here in Chicago. Whenever I see him I think "Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane!" 

I think the most impressive supporting performance was from Richard Gere. He surprised me like you won't believe! I had no idea he could sing, let alone dance. He was so flamboyant, so funny, and overall brilliant in this movie. He gets my Best Supporting Actor award for 2002. 

John C. Reilly flexed his lungs and hit a spine-chilling final note.
Most of the criticism I hear about Chicago comes from men. I'm not saying that men (in particular, straight men) are biased when it comes to musicals, but I found it really odd that it's mostly males that think this is such an overrated film. Of course there are female and gay people that don't like Chicago either, but the majority do! One thing I've observed about the IMDB (International Movie Data Base) is that men outnumber women about 3 to 1 on that website. That could be the reason why Chicago has received a mere 7.1/10 rating. Films that are filled with music and femininity (such as Cabaret, 7.8/10) are not rated as highly as they should be. 

Everyone has their reasons for disliking a film. Some may say Chicago has too much music, others may find fault with the acting. As for me, I found Chicago to be absolutely flawless. I loved every single musical number performed, every single performance, and every single line of dialogue. This film has such a... how should I say this? "Jazzy" effect on me. I moved my feet, clicked my fingers, laughed and sang the whole way through. So, in short, Chicago is NOT overrated, it's severely under-appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. I consider Chicago to be the musical version of Natural Born Killers at least when it comes to the themes of becoming famous for commiting crimes. The dance numbers are a visual and technical wonder. (Cell Block Tango and the one number where Gere was using Zellweger as a dummy are among my favs) There seems to be something ingrated into society that says musicals are only for women or gay men. As a straight man, I find this to be rediculous. As is stands Chicago is awesome and it deserved all the wins it got.