Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) has a big musical stage show act in 1920’s Chicago. Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) is looking for her break to become a big stage show name and she won’t let anything get in her way. Both Velma and Roxie end up in jail for murder! Velma kills her husband and sister for cheating on her and Roxie kills her lover when he dumps her. Worse still, he lied about having contacts in the music clubs of Chicago! The two girls meet in jail but each is looking out for themselves. They try to keep the press interested in their cases as they try to build up their defence…
Based on the hit Broadway musical, Chicago, this movie features all the songs and dance routines of the show. Of course film doesn’t have the restrictions that a stage show has and this freedom is used to good effect. The cameras can capture every scene and angle. More interesting is the way that some of the dance and song routines are intertwined with the “straight acting” as the camera cleverly jumps from one scene to another and back again.
This movie is bright, colourful, energetic and entertaining. There are plenty of laughs and over the top acting that give a flamboyant stage show feel to it. If you liked Moulin Rouge you should enjoy this movie. You don’t really have to be a fan of the musical and I was surprised to find that I recognized most of the songs.
Catherine Zeta–Jones plays beautiful Velma Kelly and she has plenty of demanding dance routines in the movie which she performances excellently. She really shines in all of her scenes.
Renée Zellweger is also excellent. She has a bigger part in the movie and in some ways she steals the show. Roxie Hart wants to see her name in lights, top of the bill, and this 1920’s wannabe will use any means to get that big break. She walks all over her, not-so-clever, husband on her way to the top.
Richard Gere is also good as the sleazy defence lawyer who has no morals. He is quite funny as he hams it up in the courtroom giving that theatrical feel to the movie.
The Bottom Line: Whether you like musicals or not, this is a fun, colourful, entertaining movie.
Lasting thought: If you can’t be famous be infamous!