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Autor: anton • September 30, 2010 • 1,715 Words (7 Pages) • 834 Views
When I first watched Chicago at the movie theater, I was not fully satisfied. I wanted more, so I went back to get some and watched it six more times with different friends and family members! Last summer during a visit to my native Mexico City, I had the opportunity to watch drag queens perform several numbers from the movie-musical. They did an amazing job, without surpassing the outstanding performances of the actors in the film. Last year, I visited NYC for the first time and indulged in the rows of the Ambassador theatre experiencing Chicago, the Broadway musical, and because I had seen the movie many times before, I knew all the songs and dances by heart. I loved it, but it was actually the movie that influenced me to become a "Chicago fan." The movie is based on the 1996 Chicago revival of the original musical version of 1975. It was thrilling knowing that the making of the musical into a mainstream production would increase its accessibility and widen its distribution into all the corners of the world; now there is no excuse for people not to experience Chicago, and though not everyone can go to Broadway to see it, just about anyone can indulge themselves in this dazzling movie in the comfort of their homes. In addition to a fantasy world of singing, dancing and Vaudeville, the film also provides a narrative that is explicitly presented through Roxie's point of view, creating a counter human side to Roxie's fantasy world so that the audience can easily identify and engage. Chicago is a must see film for anyone who likes to spoil themselves with an outstanding award-winning musical composed of a catchy plot, truly superb acting, commendable direction, and a clever soundtrack.
Bob Fosse's dazzling adaptation of the plot is a key element that contributed greatly in making Chicago achieve the success it did. Set in the 1920's, Chicago is based in the real-life murders trials of two women who were eventually exonerated of their alleged crimes. The film's main characters are Roxie Hart, a housewife who often fantasizes about becoming a Vaudeville star, and Velma Kelly, a vaudeville queen b who desires far more fame than she already has. They both find themselves in the Cook County Jail on "murderesses row". Crime and short-lived fame are the central themes of this movie. Murder and lies are sensationalized and glorified. It is no surprise that people loved it if you take into account their loyalty in becoming completely invested in the real-life crime and fame scandals of the 90's. The most notorious that comes to mind are: Selena, Tonya Harding clubbing Nancy Kerrigan, O.J. Simpson's murder trial and the Lewinsky scandal; such scandals build the framework for audiences to enjoy Chicago as a critique of America's penal system in relation to fame. The main scandal in the movie starts as Roxie shots her lover after discovering that he had lied to her about working to further her singing career. Velma eliminates her husband and sister after finding them together in bed. Billy Flynn, a slick lawyer who has never lost a case represents both women. His approach is to set up his clients as media darlings, then use that exposure to swing the trial in their favor. "In this town, murder's a form of entertainment," he comments. He refers to courtrooms as "three ring circuses" and assures Roxie that justice can be blinded by the "razzle dazzle" he will employ. Aside from sheer entertainment, the plot in Chicago also provides a social critique for the criminal justice system and celebrity "status quo". It shines a light on matters like murder, justice, and Hollywood. After watching the movie, the audience can expect to be left feeling like a great musical orgy has just taken place in front of their eyes and with something more meaningful to think about, the social critique of America.
The superb acting in Chicago made the movie a truly extraordinary production. With an award-winning cast, Chicago was able to make six nominations for the Academy Awards, and the movie actually won all six awards including best picture of the year. RenÐ¹ Zellweger (Roxie Hart) gives a legendary performance as the chorus girl who fantasizes about being a Vaudeville star. Her brilliant, realistic acting, and her oozing charisma through her musical numbers such as "Roxie" earned her an Oscar nomination. Richard Gere gives a fine, self-aggrandizing portrayal of Billy Flynn, the slick lawyer, with a marvelous tap routine elaborating his talent. He was awarded a Golden Globe. Queen Latifah, and her wildly entertaining number (When You're Good to Mama), as well as her red-hot portrayal of Matron Mama Morton, earned her an Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. Although John C. Reilly can perform an enthusiastic, mean "Mr. Cellophane", Mr. Reilly also gives a beloved, funny, and heartbreaking portrayal of Amos, Roxie's unnoticed husband; he was also nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for his work in this movie. Catherine Zeta-Jones however, was the highlight of the movie's cast. Not only is she a phenomenal dancer, but also she is an outstanding actress. Her exact and witty portrayal of Velma Kelly earned her a Golden Globe Nomination, a SAG Award, a BAFTA Award, and an Oscar. All the cast spent many months preparing for Chicago. Throughout the musical there were no doubles or stunts used, only minimal special effects. All of the actors had to submit themselves to strenuous training in singing, dancing, and developing their characters. Had the cast not done a remarkable job through their exact portrayal of their characters and the above standard performances, the ambitious vision of Chicago would not have been fulfilled.
Rob Marshall's talented vision in directing Chicago made such a staggering success. He does a remarkable job in setting the mood for the entire film. He starts by literally introducing the beginning title of Chicago through Roxie's eye. Through that shot he suggests that the whole movie is