Director: Rob Marshall
Writer (screenplay): Bill Condon
Writer (play: “Chicago”): Maurine Dallas Watkins
Writers (book of musical play “Chicago”): Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb
Running time: 113 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 17th January 2003
Watched on Sky+ Monday 7th May 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
When I was young my parents would watch just about every musical that was shown on TV. This kind of put me off musicals for a long time; in fact the only one I have actually liked since has been ‘Bugsy Malone’. Looking to expand my film watching horizons again I decided to give the Oscar winning ‘Chicago’ a look. You’ll be pleased to know I liked what I saw and I’ll give you the skinny after this brief summary.
When chorus girl Roxie Hart murders her lover, Fred Casely, she finds herself in Jail. Her devoted husband, Amos, manages to get her a very good lawyer, Billy Flynn, who has never lost a case. The prison is run by Matron Mama Morton who takes a shine to Roxie much to the distain of Velma Kelly who is in for murdering her sister and her husband; they were having an affair. But now the focus is very much on Roxie and her rise to fame in the newspapers. Can the famous lawyer save her from the gallows or will another case take precedence? Well I guess I had better not tell you that or the Spoiler Police (Musicals Division) will be relegating me to the chorus (again).
Beautifully shot with the set pieces taking centre stage; this was a refreshing change to many film adaptations of musicals I’ve seen in the past. All the performances were top notch; particularly Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly. Richard Gere did a decent job as Billy Flynn, as did Queen Latifah as Matron Mama Morton and John C. Reilly as Amos Hart.
I think the reason I like the look of this film is because it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a musical. All the set-pieces are performed on sets that are cut away from the dramatic story-line. There is much to admire, some great songs and some really great performances. I thought Richard Gere did a decent enough job of the musical numbers but I felt he was better in the dramatic parts. I can’t say I particularly liked any of the main characters all that much; they were all far too self-obsessed, but still entertaining. There was just one thing missing (for me) and that was a different ending… I have in mind how I would have liked it to end but I guess I’ll just have to keep that one with me (for now). Over all though, a thoroughly entertaining film… Recommended.
My score: 8.1/10
IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 103,459 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 82: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 88/100 (based on 211 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100 (based on 409,805 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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[after Roxie finds out about Fred Casley]
Roxie: Yeah, I killed him and I would kill him again! I would kill him again!
Assistant District Attorney Martin Harrison: Once was enough, dearie. Take her downtown. Come on!
Billy Flynn: I don't mean to toot my own horn, but if Jesus Christ lived in Chicago today, and he had come to me and he had five thousand dollars, let's just say things would have turned out differently.
[after Velma has testified against Roxie, Billy moves to discredit her]
Bandleader: And now, ladies and gentlemen, a tap dance.
Roxie: They LOVE me.
Billy Flynn: They'd love you a lot more if you were hanged. You know why? Because it would sell more papers!