Moulin Rouge is a brilliant musical pastiche that highlights the defining characteristics of the genre (the structural tension between sentimental romance pushing toward melodrama and an edgy reflexive irony built into the backstage business) while accentuating its international dimensions. Despite the dazzling visual spectacle and conscious cultivation of artifice and clichéés, it's the soundtrack that drives the film and enables it to be emotionally moving. Structured by a dizzying spiral of doubling and exerting its power through dramatic shifts in pace, Moulin Rouge uses poached lyrics and fracturing close-ups to negotiate the relationship between this singular story and its generic predecessors.

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