Good start, but then it gets ruined
The performances transcend the film's tropes, grounding it in characters that feel more complete than this subgenre often produces.
What begins as a feel-good-human-interest story turns into a mystery, then a tragedy, and ultimately an outrage.
It's simply great fun, a winsome film and an occasionally over-the-top luxury fantasy that never flags.
Paul J. Nemecek
I am a musician who loves movies and Chicago. This made picking a movie to review an easy task for me. The musical movie Chicago is an adaptation of the stage production written by Bob Fosse et. al. in 1975. Fosse grew up in Chicago in the 1930's and 1940's and the movie shows that Chicago as viewed through the jaded cynicism of the 1970's.Renee Zellweger plays Roxie Hart, a would-be singer accused of homicide. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Velma Kelly, a nightclub singer who has been convicted of homicide. Richard Gere plays Billy Flynn, the slick, slightly smarmy lawyer who represents the two women.Gangster Chicago is the setting of this story, but the story is really about media coverage, celebrity, and hype. Even as she anticipates her murder trial, Roxie and Billy are trying to figure out how to play the media angles so that Roxie can be acquitted and her career can be energized. Ironically, the hype surrounding the movie is just the kind of hype that the movie views with cynicism and disdain.Chicago is considered to be a front-runner in the Oscar race with 13 nominations including nominations for best picture, rookie director Rob Marshall, and acting nominations for Zellwegger, Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, and John C. Reilly. Richard Gere, who won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical, was the only prominent actor in the film not nominated for an Oscar for his performance.This is the second year in a row that a musical has been nominated for best picture (Moulin Rouge was nominated last year). Two in a row is not exactly a trend, and if Chicago should win best picture it will be the first musical to do so since Oliver won the prize in 1968.Oscar hype aside, is this a good movie? Yes. The performances are outstanding, especially John C. Reilly as the not-too-sharp but faithful husband of Roxie Hart. The movie is worth seeing if only to see Reilly singing "Mr. Cellophane". But it's not just performances that get my thumb tilting upward. The songs are great, and the film's story is light in tone, yet delightfully cynical while dealing with the lurid side of Chicago's past.And this is the lurid side of Chicago's past to be sure. In his famous poem about Chicago, Carl Sandburg describes Chicago as the city of big shoulders with its husky workers. Sandburg also talks about a violent city with painted ladies, and this is the Chicago depicted here ("we're not in Kansas, anymore Toto"). If dark themes with a light tone viewed through a sharply cynical lens are your cup of tea, give this one a try. If you would prefer dark themes with a dark tone and a darkly cynical lens, Gangs of New York might better fill the bill. I do love New York, but Chicago really is my kind of town and Chicago is my kind of movie.
The best part about this movie is the soundtrack. When I was younger I loved it (despite for the most part not understanding a lot of the implications). This movie could've just ignored everything else about what makes a movie a movie, but there is actually an engaging plot that makes the songs relevant. I like how during certain sequenses the actual sets will be replaced by stages. It gives the movie even more of a unique style. This movie isn't perfect, but is is extremely entertaining and I would highly recommend it.
This is an exceptionally good movie. It is visually stunning, with color and set designs being twisted and turned with strong primary colors of music and dreams being combined with the somber tones of reality. The contrast when the Hungarian woman was hanged was brilliant and striking. The music is consistently fun and unique, though I don't watch enough musicals to have much insight into it. The movie's cuts between the central narrative and the musical stage were well-done too.The acting is phenomenal, particularly from leading light Renée Zellweger, but also from everyone else.The plot rips along, and while the characters are caricatures, they are fun caricatures. Great. 10/10.(I watched this for the first time on August 28, 2017.)
TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. The original stage version (not the Ann Reinking stage revamp) is so much better. Each song is done more in a different style of classic vaudeville number...ventriloquist, piano number, sister act, etc. See the one-man jury & the cross- dressing Mary Sunshine! And if Roxie ain't a red-head, pass it by. the ONE perfect for the film version of CHICAGO performance is Amos, by John C Reilly. Renee Zellweger is not comedian enough for the role, Catherine Zeta Jones is GORGEOUS but she's too gorgeous and her performance is too pretty and not gritty enough, Queen Latifa plays it too soft also. there's comedy in the Mama character which is her being SUCH a bull diesel and would've been perfectly played by Orange Is The New Black's Lea DeLaria. Another thing that bothers me is that idea-less people like Paula Abdul and Rob Marshall copy Bob Fosse and claim they did it in the name of an "homage" when later pressed. even though they give no NOTICEABLE credit in the film.