For the avid musical lover or cinematography-buff in general, ten years has not dated the 2002 hit movie “Chicago” as a scale by which to measure more recent movies’ success and notability. However, upon examination of the American 20-something college population at large, it has been discovered that a tragic number of our peers have never viewed this classic immersion into (1920’s) Jazz-age Chicago and the scandalous happenings there-in. And so, it is with the deepest motive to entertain and inform that we shall dissect the first musical film to win “Best picture” since “Oliver” in 1969.
“Chicago” is a true musical masterpiece, boasting an impressive repertoire of awards and actors. Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall (“Memoirs of a Geisha”) and adapted from the stage-original (of the same name) to film by screenwriter William “Bill” Condon (“Dream girls”); “Chicago” won “Best Picture” in 2003 and secured six academy awards.
The film opens in a nightclub where Catherine Zeta-Jones who stars as the notorious vaudeville diva “Velma Kelly” (who has just committed a terrible crime) performs a seamless rendition of “and all that jazz,” for an unsuspecting audience. This particular audience includes cheating-housewife “Roxy” (Renée Zellweger) who idolizes the diva and dreams of her chance at fame. Through a series of intriguing events Velma (Zeta-Jones) and Roxy (Zellweger) end up together in prison on death-row under the watchful eye of Queen Latifah (“Bringing down the house”) playing the matron of the jailhouse “Mama,” who will be your best friend, for a price; and at the mercy of masterful Richard Gere as “Billy Flynn” the smooth-talking attorney who has never lost a case.
Yet another wonderful facet of this film is the fact that each actor that “appears” to perform a vocal number actually did do all of their own singing, from Zeta-Jones to Gere.
With a “killer” story-line, beautiful cinematography, impressive choreography and a dynamic finish; after ten years “Chicago” is still a must-see.