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Chicago, the movie

by Robert Abrams
January 26, 2003
Chicago, IL

Chicago, the movie

Review by Robert Abrams
January 26, 2003

Comparing Chicago, the movie, to Chicago, the musical, is like comparing pineapples to oranges. While the basic structure is the same, this structure has been reconfigured for film. In a film, the rhythm is often established by the editing. This is also true in a dance film. The editing in Chicago was superb. Combined with the cinematography, the audience is immersed in the action, or isolated from it as appropriate. The choreography was well done in each of its parts and well modulated overall. Both the visual and sound design were very full, ala Baz Luhrmann.


Catherine Zeta-Jones in Rob Marshall's Chicago
Photo by David James

Queen Latifah showed off some fine strutting. Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere all danced with convincing verve.

The tango sequence showed better tango technique than that in the show. This number used a red bandana to represent victims' blood. This was both consistent with the style of the film, and was a fitting echo of a tradition within older forms of latin dance where partners would dance together, through a bandana rather than direct contact.

There were several inventive dance machines, including a car made of girls and a conveyer belt.

In one fantastic moment, Renee Zellweger was shown in the upper right corner of the screen in a silver outfit against a totally black background. This moment showed that the big screen is good for more than explosions.

Lucy Liu was very convincing in a cameo role. Maybe next time she'll get to dance.

The final verdict? Chicago is a showstopper. Go see it. Or better yet see both the film and the show.

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