The Cell
Öga rött, Ett

Chicago (2002)
Musical,Comedy,Crime,Drama
USA / English
"With the right song and dance, you can get away with murder. "
Murderesses Velma Kelly (a chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together)and Roxie Hart (Who killed her boyfriend when she discovered he wasn't going to make her a star) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.
Taye Diggs Bandleader
Cliff Saunders Stage Manager
Catherine Zeta-Jones Velma Kelly
Renée Zellweger Roxie Hart
Dominic West Fred Casely
Jayne Eastwood Mrs. Borusewicz
Bruce Beaton Police Photographer
Roman Podhora Sergeant Fogarty
John C. Reilly Amos Hart
Colm Feore Harrison
Rob Smith Newspaper Photographer
Shawn Wayne Doyle Reporter (as Sean Wayne Doyle)
Steve Behal Prison Clerk
Robbie Rox Prison Guard
Chita Rivera Nickie
Director: Rob Marshall
Producer: Martin Richards
Writer: Maurine Dallas Watkins,Bob Fosse
Charged, exhilarating, a treat and a surprise.
I thoroughly enjoyed the current Broadway stage revival of Chicago -- the Kander and Ebb original, with Bob Fosse choreography, opened in 1975, starring Gwen Verdon (Roxie), Chita Rivera (Velma) and Jerry Orbach (Billy), all proven musical theatre talents. I saw the revival fairly early in its current run, starring Ann Reinking (Roxie), Bebe Neuwirth (Velma) and James Naughton (Billy), who are all proven in musical theatre as well.

The casting of this new film adaptation had me wondering -- Renee Zellwegger (Roxie), Catherine Zeta Jones (Velma) and Richard Gere (Billy)? Sure, they can act, but can they sing and dance?

Big time. The strength of their performances alone is almost enough to carry the film. Whether the stars come by these moves and voices easily, or were rehearsed within an inch of their lives, it's clear they come by them naturally -- they each perform their own songs, and the dance moves are both fluid and stylistically true to the Fosse choreography. Attention to choreographic integrity in this film is to be expected: director Rob Marshall is a choreographer by trade. The sizzling staging of Velma's and Roxie's "Finale" is practically a Fosse quotation from beginning to end, and is razzle-dazzling beyond the stage version, via the cinematography and editing techniques that only the film medium provides.

I was prepared for a watered-down Hollywood take on the wildly popular, 6 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival, but sans the stage talents that got it there. But I actually liked the film BETTER. The film's screenplay adaptation, by Bill Condon, fleshes out the narrative to allow an emotional connection to the characters in a way that I didn't experience in the theater. The film integrates the songs to the story by cutting between an electrifying staged rendition and the 1920's Chicago world of the narrative. This technique gives the characters space for an inner emotional life thus letting the audience better connect with them.

I did have a few quibbles. The song "Class", a personal favorite, was cut, likely to keep the momentum up as we rush toward Roxie's sensational jury trial, which delivers several musical treats of its own, and is the dramatic apogee of the story. And, while I found John C. Reilly a most pathetic but sympathetic Amos, I felt that Joel Grey evoked those qualities much more effectively in his Broadway rendition of "Mr. Cellophane."

The story, while providing an opportunity for some juicy songs and sharply funny characters, is more than just eye candy. Its portrayal of cynical manipulation of the criminal justice system by creating a celebrity-hungry media circus (the raison d'etre of Richard Gere's Billy Flynn) is more than apt today. But if there's any moralizing going on here, it's with a wink and a flash of leg. Chicago is a treat.

Personal
Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
User credit 2:1000
Storage device:Divx 5
Loan
Movie
Imdb rating: 7.3
Musician: Danny Elfman
Running time: 113 min
Technical
Subtitles: Svenska
Everything else:
Last modified: 2008-01-02 11:27:58