Review by: Lizzie Guilfoyle | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Rob Marshall
and screenwriter Bill Condon; Behind the scenes special (28 mins);
Deleted scene with optional commentary.
CHICAGO slips effortlessly from stage to screen without losing
any of its original razzle dazzle.
A tale of murder, passion, sex and, of course, All That
Jazz, Chicago follows the misfortunes of aspiring vaudeville
star, Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) and her mentor, the moderately
successful Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whose lives become
inexorably entwined when, charged with separate murders, they
find themselves prisoners in the same cell block.
Enter Matron Morton, the irrepressible Mama (played by the delightful
Queen Latifah) and the charismatic, but equally corrupt, lawyer,
Mr Billy Flynn (a somewhat surprising Richard Gere) who together,
and for a substantial sum of money, set about proving the girls
innocence by decidedly foul means.
Shifting adroitly between reality and fantasy, dramatic cinema
and musical theatre as Roxies world moves from prison to
courtroom to stage, Chicago is a stunning spectacle, filled with
human emotion cleverly underlined by the vibrant pulse of music.
Who, for example, can fail to sympathise with Amos Hart, Roxies
cuckolded husband (John C Reilly) as he pours out his heart in
Mr Cellophane or, equally, rejoice with Roxie - in
this scene, less voluptuous but yet strangely reminiscent of a
young Marilyn Monroe - as she envisages a future with her name
While Zellweger is superb, its Zeta-Jones - here sporting
a sleek bob - who sizzles as vexed vamp, Velma, showing just how
far she has come since The Darling Buds of May.
And both girls can sing and dance along with the best as, indeed,
can Gere. His rendition of Both Reached For The Gun,
with Roxie a puppet on his knee, is as funny as it is ingenious.
Watch out, too, for a surprise cameo appearance by one of Charlies
For those who love musicals and have seen the original, Chicago
wont disappoint, unless its the omission of Mary Sunshines
character being played by an actor in drag.
Rob Marshall (director/ choreographer), however, felt that such
an inclusion wouldnt work on film and, instead, cast acclaimed
actress, Christine Baranski, who plays the savvy, possibly corrupt,
reporter/sob sister to perfection.
For sceptics of musicals, on the other hand, the film might come
as a pleasant surprise.