Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere
Director: Rob Marshall
Running Time: 113 mins
Chicago is an American film about a two women on death row after being found guilty of murder who fight for the fame that they will hope will give them the support to win their freedom.
Well, the interesting thing about this film is that, while it’s got a good story, good songs, good performances and all that jazz, it’s really hard to get into and be properly interested, largely due to the fact that it’s laid out and goes along exactly like the stage play.
I’ve never seen the stage play, but I know that it’s one of the most successful and critically acclaimed plays of all time, however I don’t think that it’s translated too well onto the silver screen.
The other interesting thing about this film was that it won Best Picture at the Oscars. Now, in my opinion, that was probably one of the biggest mistakes the Academy ever made, with films like The Pianist, City Of God, Gangs of New York etc. all available too in 2002, and the main reason I feel that is that it’s not really a well-constructed film.
I never used to be a fan of musicals, because I thought that they weren’t very fluid and tough to watch, but I’ve warmed to the genre recently, seeing that with a few decent songs spaced throughout the film, it can be really entertaining.
And while this film does have some great songs, there are just too many all jam-packed into the two hours. Overall, there are about 15 numbers throughout, all lasting nearly over 5 minutes each, which I think is just too long to have an engaging musical (Les Misérables is a key demonstration of that).
But the worst thing is not that the songs do go on so long, it’s that you get so little time of dialogue in between them to get the story going again. The songs only show a tiny bit of story development, so the main bulk of the plot moves in the speaking parts, but they’re oddly very few, and that means that you get this annoying, jerky feel to the film that doesn’t allow you to get interested in the plot at all.
Anyway, apart from the fact that that issue ruined my enjoyment of this film, I still thought that the story was interesting (if not a bit predictable), the performances were very strong, and with some great cinematography, it was overall a very good-looking film (although almost all films set in the Jazz Age are), so this gets a 7.1 from me.