There’s no doubt that, then and now, Moulin Rouge was a force to be reckoned with—even its loyal detractors must admit that it’s really something (I recall getting word of one highly respected film professor calling it a “tremendous piece of shit”). But there’s serious strain in its attempt to subsume and regurgitate a century’s worth of high- and low-brow... Such mega-movies feel rather mini in retrospect, and the grandness of Moulin Rouge feels positively Lilliputian now.
Luhrmann drops in some Bollywood numbers for good measure (because why not?) and captures all the manic action in a whirlwind of canted angles, speed ramping effects, and rapid-fire edits. The result is inspired chaos, an unapologetic sensory assault capable of overwhelming even today’s YouTube-savvy audience.