March 21, 2003


Last night we saw Chicago at the North Bend Theatre. The movie is gorgeous, both because the stars and other dancers look great and also the overall cinematography. We hadn't seen this musical on stage, but it seems like they did a really great job with the screen adaptation. The nature of the story requires that the big dance numbers are very stagey, but the framing elements felt satisfyingly three dimensional. The song and dance throughout the film is dazzling, exciting, and often very funny.

Apparently people have been calling this a "feel good" movie, but they must not have seen the movie I saw. Roxie Hart is cheating on her husband with a guy who promises to help her get a start on stage. When her lover reveals that he does not have the showbiz contacts he claimed, she shoots him and tries to get her husband to take the blame. The only reason this despicable human being is watchable at all is that she's being played by the incomparable Renee Zellweger. Catherine Zeta-Jones's character killed her husband and her sister when she caught them together. Richard Gere plays a lawyer who will get anyone off as long as they have $5000. "Feel good" is not the phrase that springs immediately to mind. As social satire, though, it works very well, especially in the eye-popping court room drama scene whose song "Razzle Dazzle" isn't just an indictment of our legal system, but these days also of our political system.

But feel good or not, it is a good movie with great performances. On the minus side, Becky was distracted by the anachronistically buff/scrawny dancers, particularly Ms. Zellweger. The dancing by the principals was impressive, but part of what allowed it to be so impressive was the rapid-fire quick-cut editing throughout the film which was enough to repeatedly pull me out of the flow.

Verdict: 3 stars (out of 4)

Posted by jeffy at March 21, 2003 04:04 PM