Rob Marshall’s Chicago is an adaptation of Maurine Watkins 1926 musical of the same name. The story took place in the roaring 20’s based on the concept of femme fatale and commercialized criminals. The plot of the movie revolves around ambition and the fickle nature of fame, and breaks the boundaries of stereotypical musicals in its unique theatricality and stagecraft. The success in the cinematic, theatrical, and editing elements aid in the creation of wonderful movie that is Chicago.
To analyze a film requires the understanding of the setting, characters, and plot. The setting of the movie is in Chicago, hence the name of the film, during the 1920’s era where flappers and burlesque were becoming increasingly popular. The story revolves around the ambitious, yet lovable Roxie Hart. A married woman with a husband by the name of Amos. Amos lead a quiet life compared to Roxie who only cared about her career. Whatever it took, Roxie would use her body or even kill if it would move her up the ladder of fame. Her unearthly desire for notoriety landed her in jail for the murder of a man who was supposed to help her put a foot in the door of show business. In jail, she meets the infamous Velma Kelly. A performer of a double act with her sister in a club which would sell out every night. Velma killed both her sister and her husband after she caught them sleeping together and was awaiting her trial for the murder. Her attorney was the hotshot Billy Flynn, a man who could talk himself out of anything. Roxie employs Billy for her trial, and along the way earns her 15 seconds of fame from a made-up story of her crime. In the end, Roxie desperately tries to hold on to her short-lived fame of her criminal career and attempts to utilize it to her advantage in show business, but it fails and she ends up on the bottom where she began. The movie ends with her and Velma performing a double act to a large crowd of cheering fans.
Chicago’s cinematic sequences create intense visuals in the movie. Each scene shares the focus on the performance and song rather than the dialogue and script. The film consisted of various streams of changing shots.
As the set was in Chicago, the costumes...