Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Netflix Pix: Of Clubs Both Fight and the Moulin Rouge!

It's Netflix Pix time once again--apologies for the delay! My intention was to make this a regular Sunday series but it seems more likely that once every two weeks is a better aim.

This week, we have two regular-mail picks, both centered around the ideas of clubs--albeit entirely different clubs. Today, we'll visit Tyler Durden's Fight Club and Harold Zeigler's Moulin Rouge!

"Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing? Come back to me and forgive everything."
There may be no better movie musical than the bold, exciting, truly beautiful Moulin Rouge! Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the film is an absolute spectacle, extreme in any way but directed to absolute perfection. Were the hand guiding it not so steady, the extremism would feel forced and would not play as well as it does. (Even now, the film has almost as many detractors as it does fans.) But the formula is perfect. The script is absurd, yes, but it is endless fun, full of sheer excitement and joy, and is delivered perfectly by the cast.

Oh, the cast! Ewan McGregor is doing career-best work here, proving himself a brilliant singer with a beautiful voice. He also inhabits the role so well--the fact that he wasn't Oscar-nominated for this performance is a sad blemish on the Academy's history. Nicole Kidman is also doing career-best work, but her performance is almost on another level. You feel so much for her character, the courtesan Satine, as she unknowingly dies of consumption while falling in love for the first time. Each moment of the performance is captivating--she deserved the Oscar for this performance.

The music is also marvelous. Using iconic 20th century music was an inspired choice--nowhere is this more obvious than in the "Elephant Love Medley." Each choice is brilliant--when Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" kicks in, it's a beautiful payoff. The one original song from the film, "Come What May," is exquisite in both its bold original form and its breathtaking, showstopping reprise form.

Sure, the movie's not perfect. No one should pretend it is. But it's flaws are greatly outweighed by its strong points. In fact, it might be the most exuberant film ever made, which is a great risk. It delivers beautifully. A
"Goddamn! We just had a near-life experience, fellas."
Fight Club is everything Moulin Rouge! isn't in so many ways: it's rough-and-tumble, it's aggressive, it's modern, it's psychologically complex: in many ways, it's the ultimate boys' movie. But that gives it so little credit--does that describe how fantastic the film really is? How Edward Norton gives an impossibly strong performance? How Brad Pitt oozes absolute daredevil charm? How Helena Bonham Carter perfectly embodies the sexually on-edge Marla Singer? It's a brilliant film and with an insane twist that no one will expect. David Fincher's best film by a country mile. A-

What do you guys think of Fight Club and Moulin Rouge! ten years after their releases? Are they on your Netflix queues? Anyone dislike these modern classics? Take your thoughts to the comments!


M. Hufstader said...

Both movies are completely and utterly epic. And in very different ways. The only reason I can see for watching them together would be so you could tell the guys that you watched Fight Club when really you were crying about Satine. Nonetheless, brilliant movies that will definitely stand the test of time. Though I'm willing to bet Meatloaf has bigger knockers than Nicole Kidman. I'm just saying.

Kevin said...

M. Hufstader--thanks for reading! Netflix Pix films aren't necessarily meant to be watched together--they're usually films I've just Netflixed myself and am just writing up, but I appreciated that they were both about "clubs" of sorts this week. Both absolute classics though!

Lazarus Lupin said...

Both movies are great but when put together it makes me want to do a musical version of Fight Club.
By the way, welcome to the LAMB

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

mensajes claro said...

Both movies are great.