Two murderesses compete for publicity and a sleazy lawyer's
attention while awaiting trial on death row in 1920's Chicago.
Directed by Rob Marshall
Written by Bill Condon
Starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Taye Diggs, Colm Feore,
Christine Baranski, Dominic West
Based on the stage play by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress
(Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Art Direction,
Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound
Oscar Nominations - Best Actress (Renée Zellweger),
Best Supporting Actor (John C. Reilly), Best Supporting
Actress (Queen Latifah), Best Director, Best Adapted
Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song (I Move On)
Chicago is a highly entertaining musical that swiped Best Picture away from a number of vastly superior films like The Two Towers and Gangs of New York. While not entirely deserving of top honors in my opinion, Chicago is still a gorgeous, stylized, 20's crime comedy with a host of fantastic performances. There's not a single likable character in the bunch, so you find yourself rooting for whoever seems to be less a complete piece of shit than the others. But it works, because it helps sell the spirit of a corrupted court system that feels less like a trial and more like a song and dance.
Meet Roxie Hart (Zellweger), a cheating tramp who murders her lover and tries to pin it on her dimwit husband Amos (Reilly). When she's arrested, and becomes the toast of the Chicago press, she hires hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn (Gere) to represent her. Throughout the catchy as hell musical numbers, we get to see the legal process in a whole new light. Along the way, the opportunistic Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) tries to regain the spotlight, and Roxie ups the stakes by faking a pregnancy. It's a tug-of-war between these two murderesses, and the audience can't help but fall in love with both.
Chicago was originally a stage play choreographed by the great Bob Fosse, and it remains one of the longest running Broadway shows behind only The Phantom of the Opera. This film adaptation does the stage musical great justice, and is one of the best movie musicals of the 2000's. I still don't think it should've taken Best Picture, but that's only because the competition that year was insane. This movie is a great one thanks to its incredible cast, epic production design, and entertaining story.