Release year: 2002
Director: Rob Marshall
Screenwriter: Bill Condon, Maurine Dallas Watkins (play)
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah, Christine Baranski, Taye Diggs, Mya
Ratings: 6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound. 7 Oscar nominations: Best Actress (Renée Zellweger), Best Supporting Actor (John C. Reilly), Best Supporting Actree (Queen Latifah), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song. 3 Golden Globes: Best Comedy/Musical, Best Actress Comedy/Musical (Renée Zellweger), Best Actor Comedy/Musical (Richard Gere).
It’s the roaring twenties Chicago when wannabe star Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) kills her lover she ends up on death row in risk of ending in the gallows. Here she meets famous murderess Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Matron Mama Morton (Queen Latifah) who puts her in contact with celebrity lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) who has never lost a case. But it’s violent times and the state is set on making an example.
The adaption of the popular satirical stage musical by the same name became a huge succes and the first musical to win the Oscar for Best Picture since Oliver! won in 1969. Its overwhelming succes, together with that of Moulin Rouge! (2001) is widely considered being responsible for the re-emerging of the musical genre that has since brought several musicals to the screen, Hairspray (2007), Phantom of the Opera (2004) and Les Misérables (2012) to name a few. Marshall (Into the Woods, 2014) cleverly approach the play by playing it straight and then let the musical be inside Roxie’s mind. This gives him a chance to go all the way in terms of dazzle and glitter without it ever becoming too much and without affecting the serious matter that lays ground for the story or the satirical comment on the thirst for fame and scandal or the corruption of a society that admire those two things. Zeta-Jones (Entrapment, 1999) and Zellweger (Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001) gives it their all, belting out songs and dancing so the sequins fly, Zeta-Jones as the fierce ruthless Velma and Jones as the demure and coy manipulator Roxie. Both women does there own dancing and singing and pull it of like professionals, adding glamour and spark to the movie looking like starlets from the twenties. Gere (Pretty Woman, 1990) is well casted as the slick Flynn, his handsome looks fits the part and he holds his tune surprisingly well, while Reilly (Carnage, 2011) is a pleasant surprise, his solo song Mister Cellophane heart wrenchingly emitional and one of the most tender moments in the movie. With murder, jealousi, dancing, song, corruption and love, Chicago has pretty much everything and is ready to entertain you with it’s colourful characters, brilliant performances and all that jazz.
The translated speech by Hunyak is: “How did I find myself here? They say my famous lover (neighbor?) held down my husband and I cut his head off. But it’s not true. I am innocent. I don’t know why Uncle Sam says I did it. I tried to explain at the police station but they didn’t understand.”
Picture copyright: Miramax films