Strictly Ballroom Movie Review
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.