Making me choose my favorite anything from Moulin Rouge! is akin to well making Sophie's Choice. Originally I intended to establish this and then get it out of the way by just being gutsy and picking a particular shot and owning up to it.
You see, this film is still one of the seminal pieces of cinema that quite seriously define my life. What I'm going to do is of course cheat, I'll say what might be my favorite element of the film and then justify it by going with four shots of her...
Yes, what makes Moulin Rouge! absolutely spectacular to me (besides Ewan, Baz, the music, the sets, the clothes...ugh this is tough!) is Nicole Kidman.
Watching her first descend on a sparkly trapeze is witnessing purely magnetic star power!
The film not only showed us she could dance and sing, it also revealed her to be a magnificent entertainer. The camera loves her!
Ever noticed how during the entire film, Satine seems almost magnetic? Like every element in the movie is drawn towards her? This shot is a perfect example (looks almost scientific) of how the men in this case all flock to her.
But being able to have this kind of power is a double edged sword, for a star can easily become a black hole as well. Nicole's performance in Moulin Rouge! is the perfect balancing act of how to own a movie, while not tiring audiences of you.
Her ravishing beauty fills every shot she's in...
The cinematographer often seems to try and make his way around the props and costumes to find Kidman at her purest. This scene in particular is astonishingly well made given that we come to understand that Satine's world has become her cage. She was a fool to believe...
But then she never stops looking so magnificent. Part of the film's great appeal is its artifice, if Satine is dying of an STD, she should look like crap, yet Nicole looks great even when she breaks a tiny sweat. How the hell did Baz and Nicole get away with this Garbo-esque fakery, in this cynical time and age and made it sublime?
OK if I don't stop now, I'll end up making screencaps of every single frame in the movie and then post them in chronological order. Damn you Nathaniel for making me go through this!
This incoherent post was part of Nat's splendiferous Hit Me With Your Best Shot series.