Now released on DVD (which includes a commentary from Luhrmann and his crew), it's easier to track Luhrmann's transition from Ballroom to Romeo + Juliet to the masterful Moulin Rouge -- and his road to greatness is an impressive one. Ballroom belies Luhrmann's love for the stage (beginning, Rouge-style, with a red curtain opening) and for gaudiness, but the tale is beyond his budget and sadly lacking in grandeur. Rouge took the ideas here -- from music to costuming to the idealistic hero -- and kicked it up about 20 notches. And in the process, Luhrmann learned how to make dialogue more thrilling and how to better develop his characters.
Romeo + Juliet, which also hits DVD this week, gave Luhrmann a prefab, stellar narrative and the chance to focus on his storytelling (and the opportunity to work with bigger-name actors). The end of the road was Moulin Rouge, and I know I'm dying to see where Luhrmann goes from here.
Let's hope he continues heading up.
Run time: 94 mins
In Theaters: Friday 12th February 1993
Box Office Worldwide: $33.9M
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Producer: Tristram Miall
Starring: Paul Mercurio as Scott Hastings, Tara Morice as Fran, Bill Hunter as Barry Fife, Pat Thomson as Shirley Hastings, Gia Carides as Liz Holt, Peter Whitford as Les Kendall, Barry Otto as Doug Hastings, John Hannan as Ken Railings, Kerry Shrimpton as Pam Short, Kris McQuade as Charm Leachman, Sonia Kruger as Tina Sparkle, Todd McKenney as Nathan Starkey, Pip Mushin as Wayne Burns, Steve Grace as Kylie's Dance Partner