| Waited a while to see this. No
particular reason. Not even because I heard so much good stuff about it. Just
Chicago trips between reality and musical fantasy, interwoven to
make what would be a pedestrian story fit for grade double-Z
exploitation lotsa fun, nay, dare I say jaZZy?
Unlike Shakespeare in Love, which despite
its richly staged production was as morally bankrupt as a communist
organization parading anti-Americanism as anti-war dogma, Chicago parades
morally bankrupt schemers caught up in the search for their flash in the pan
and lays bare their emptiness, their jazzy, boozy induced criminality.
get on, we get off...
Chicago jabs at the
soullessness of its characters in many ways, breaking them one by one on the
rocks of public fascination. It's the show girl in all of us that wants to be
up on stage - it's the monster from the Id that will do anything to get us
there - and punish mercilessly anyone standing in the
CHICAGO drops all pretensions and realities of
saintliness right through the gallows humor door.
"Bang Bang. I fired two warning shots - into his
Whereas other, more politically motivated films might show this
stage struck woman as a victim at the hands of evil non-women, Chicago shows
her in all her duplicity - scheming ever to get on the stage, into the
limelight, apple of the public eye, unconcerned even for her own safety...which
is to say she don't even realize what she done was a hangin' offense.
After it is all sung and danced, and the poor show-girl-to-be
gave it to the guy what had it etc., she now seeks out the solace of the
slickest lawyer in town - one who loves her ... for her money. The irony is
lost on only her.
"Let's just say if Jesus Christ were in Chicago today
and he had 5,000 dollars, things might have turned out
"Cell Block Tango - (He Had It Coming)", perhaps
the signature line of the show, is only one of the darkly funny glimpses into
the attitudes of the women. Justified Homicide - sure they have had it with
men. But when the chips are down, who do they turn to? A man. And a real louse.
And this is precisely where Chicago succeeds. Any hint of moral superiority of
women from the film itself would have tanked this sparkling juggernaut. What we
see instead are people who think they are morally superior, because it's what
they want to think.
In the quest for fame, the heroine's shining moment is stolen
from her by a new ingenue of infamy - and the lawyer - sated in his quest for
acquittal, licking the grease from the jury off his fingers, puts it into
In essence he tells her "It's not her the public wants. It's
the notoriety - and that don't last."
(Don't ask me
to produce a direct quote - it is either because I am lazy or disinterested. Go
see the movie if you want a literal transcript.)
Aobut the 10th time Velma
says "and all that jazz..." I was tired of it. About the 20th time, I really
started to get it...
Why tell you
when, through the magic of internet "browsing" you can hear some of it for
Try listening to some bits
and pieces at www. Chicago
photography, luscious colors, ingeniously timed and executed editing, romping
stomping music and sweet sweet sounds.
I saw one edit I did not like, about 1:45:00 into
I think the reviewers of this film have gone a little ape-shit
above and beyond their usually glowing reviews (when they do one) - there could
be a reason for that.
There is a long standing snobbery
attendant to stage production versus film production. Reviewers tend to favor
the theater, and review film either because their editors make them, (most
likely reason), because they need the money, or because it is the closest thing
they can get to a "real" reviewing job. The disrespect many of the reviewers
have for film is pitifully obvious - and anything resembling a play, like
Therese from the 80's,
gets slavered over like a day old rib bone in the jaws of a rabid
CHICAGO is a stage
play set to film, directed by a stage director, with a premise set for a
vaudeville stage, with reality looking like a stage play interwoven with
fantasy numbers looking like the true stage numbers they
verges on stupendous, but if they had not moved it at all, instead taking up a
single long shot from a middle-of-the-audience perspective I have no doubt some
reviewers would have found this to be a much more satisfying
||WHAT IT REMINDS ME OF
anything is the Steve Martin pic "Pennies From Heaven", only this really works
it. I will get the cd, and the dvd, and root for it on Oscar