When Baz Luhrmann goes to work, the result is always something unique. Luhrmann specializes in creating mythological worlds and then heightening the viewer's experience of them with expert techniques and unconventional concepts. His last project was Romeo and Juliet, in which he brought Shakespeare's Elizabethan poetry to a postmodern setting. This year he focuses on nineteenth-century France in Moulin Rouge, where it seems that everyone is breaking out into song, and to boot, they're singing familiar modern pop songs.
The movie stars Ewan McGregor, recently of Star Wars fame, and Nicole Kidman. The former plays a penniless poet who goes against his father's wishes by moving to the Bohemian Monmartre, France, and entering its sordid world of sex, drugs, and fast living. He is hired to create an extravaganza for the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub, and during his time there, he falls in love with the nightclub's highest-paid entertainer and courtesan, Satine, played by Kidman.
The story is a tragedy, but the movie is something else altogether. Those who disparaged the Romeo and Juliet experience, whether they were Shakespeare shunners, or purists, or simply sticks in the mud, might be prepared to quibble over Moulin Rouge. Moviegoers will certainly discover a whole new association between modern English pop and historical France. Likely, however, they will find themselves seduced by an experience that is at once familiar and strange, and altogether amazing.
By the time tall Australian redhead Nicole Kidman was three years old, she had already taken up ballet.
She continued showing an interest in performing and enrolled in drama school at the age of ten. After racking up a string of lesser-known credits, she caught the attention of agents with a stellar performance in Dead Calm, in which her character is forced to defend herself against a murderous psychopath on a yacht.
Kidman also caught the attention of Tom Cruise, who insisted she play a part in Days of Thunder. The two hit it off, and moved in together soon after shooting was finished. Kidman would not be satisfied with simply being Mrs. Tom Cruise, however. She has held her own in Hollywood, starring with such heavy hitters as Dustin Hoffman and George Clooney. Her recent separation from Cruise is mourned by fans, but will not likely put a damper on Kidman's progress.
As she expands her repertoire, Kidman proves time and again that she is capable of turning on the intensity. She did so to much acclaim in To Die For, where she plays a TV weather announcer with a plan to ice her husband. The movie opened up a wide range of possibilities for Kidman, and since then she has worked with movie greats Jane Campion and Stanley Kubrick. Currently, Kidman takes the lead opposite Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge, the latest film from director Baz Luhrmann.