Films

Chicago

UK release date: Sep 8 2009


cast list

Renee Zellweger
Richard Gere
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Queen Latifah
John C Reilly
Lucy Liu

directed by
Rob Marshall
Everyone loves a legend, but in Chicago, there’s only room for one. VelmaKelley (Catherine Zeta-Jones) burns in the spotlight as a nightclubsensation. When she shoots her philandering husband, she lands on Chicago’sfamed murderess row, retains Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (RichardGere), and is the centre of the town’s most notorious murder case, onlyincreasing her celebrity.

Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) has dreams of singing and dancing her way tostardom. When Roxie’s abusive lover tries to walk out on her, she shoots himdead and ends up in prison too. Billy recognizes a made-for-tabloids story,and postpones Velma’s court date to take on Roxie’s case. Infamy is Roxie’sticket to stardom. Billy turns her crime of passion into celebrityheadlines, and in this town, where murder is a form of entertainment; shebecomes a bona fide star – much to Velma’s chagrin.

Hollywood, after numerous fits and starts over the years, has finallymanaged to get Bob Fosse’s Chicago to the big screen. It was wellworth the wait. Director Rob Marshall, buoyed by Martin Walsh’s superbediting and Dion Beebee’s fluid cinematography, perfectly captures theenergy, sexiness and fun of the stage production, with minimal sacrificesand changes made along the way. Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters)’sscreenplay may lack depth, but Fosse’s keen observations of our society’sobsession with celebrities remain intact, views that seem to be morerelevant today than they did twenty-six years ago.

Gere, Zellweger and Zeta-Jones may all have seemed like odd castingchoices for a movie musical, but as was the case with Nicole Kidman and EwanMcGregor in Moulin Rouge, they prove to be the right choices.Zeta-Jones makes for a perfect Velma; Zellweger is quite good as Roxie whileGere has a great time as Billy. John C. Reilly, as Roxie’s sad-sack husbandAmos, and Queen Latifah as prison warden Matron “Mama” Morton are bothexcellent in supporting performances. Lucy Liu appears briefly as anothermurderess that threatens to steal the media spotlight from Roxie. Her screentime is brief and she doesn’t sing. Thank God for small miracles.

Chicago may lack the inventiveness and audaciousness of MoulinRouge and the emotional punch of Dancer In The Dark, but it isgreat fun, filled with terrific performances, top-flight filmmaking andtunes that you’ll be humming for quite some time afterwards. It’s sexy,funny, smart…and all that jazz.



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