Film review

Chicago

Opens December 26; Cert 12A, 112 mins

Even the unconverted will enjoy Rob Marshall's sharp, streamlined and subversive version of the stage phenomenon. Froth for all the family it ain't. It makes prescient, bitchy observations about media celebrity, rattles along like a train, and the rhymes merit spontaneous applause. Think Cabaret meets Moulin Rouge, only more cynically funny, with a story that makes sense.

Even the stunt casting works. Renée Zellweger is Roxie Hart, the Roaring Twenties showgirl who shoots her lover. Hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), a kind of tap-dancing Max Clifford, begins the spin that'll launch her as "the jazz killer", the masses' sweetheart.

Usurped star Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) sees through Roxie's act, being a murderess herself. The rivalry between the two women is conducted chiefly through high-kicking song'n'dance numbers-in jail, in court and, of course, in smoky-blue nightclubs. The regal way Zeta-Jones declares she'll tell nothing but the truth "and then some" will make you a fan for life, while committed support comes from Queen Latifah, the brilliant John C Reilly and Lucy Liu. Dazzling: now that's showbiz, kid.

Rating: 4 / 10


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