Sunday, September 19, 2010

Best of the Decade #15: Chicago (2002)

I know this isn't going to sit well with some of you, but I'm a sucker for musicals!

After receiving an energetic rebirth with Moulin Rouge! the previous year, the movie musical received another terrific entry into it's canon with Rob Marshall's Chicago. Cleverly adapted from the famous Bob Fosse stage version by writer Bill Condon, it is a sassy, sexy, and thoroughly entertaining production. Part of the story's appeal is its cynicism, declaring the unimportance of truth or honesty as compared to vanity and showmanship. The only honest characters in Chicago are the ones who end up losing, while the criminals and shysters end up triumphant. It sounds awful, yet we find we've been rooting for them the whole time. The cast is an odd collection, but it astonishingly works (Catherine Zeta-Jones and John C. Reilly are particular delights). Stylishly put together with dazzling sets, costumes, and lighting, Chicago never fails to keep you smiling.

The film has somewhat come under fire in recent years, and perhaps its Best Picture win (I admit, it wasn't deserved) has compounded the problem. Haters malign it for being "gimmicky" and "one-note", but I don't buy it for a second. Chicago is just too much fun for me to get hung up on all that!

My favourite of the many spirited musical numbers:

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