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Chicago is one of the rare films to break on the international film scene which says a lot about vices as values without falling into the trap of seriousness. Debutant Rob Marshall does a brilliant job of it.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2003 10:41 IST

Cast: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Queen Latifah
Director: Rob Marshall

Fame hungry Roxie Hart dreams of a life on the Vaudeville stage, and spends her nights jazzing it up in the bright lights of Chicago, continually hoping that she'll find her lucky break. She alsokeeps hoping that she would be able to flee her boring andunassuming husband Amos (played by John C. Reilly, who has also been nominated for Best Supporting Actor)by working outan arrangement with Fred Cassely, who promises her the moon, telling herthat he has huge connections inshowbiz.

But the casting couch scenario doesn't work out, for after he's had his fun Cassely reveals that he has no more connections in showbusiness than Hart does. For Hart this is reason enough to murder him. Upon discovering her infidelity, Hart's husband Amos refuses to take the blame for the murder and she is sent to jail, pending hanging.

In jail she finally meets tabloid darling Velma Kelly (Hart's icon played by Zet-Jones), currently receiving huge media attention for the double murder she committed earlier. Sharing the clink with Velma, are a collection of other sly females, all awaiting trial for the murders of their own partners. While Velma remains aloof to Hart, the prison Warden Mrs Morton (Latifah) offers Hart the opportunity of representation by slick Chicago lawyer Billy Flynn (Gere).

Billy is more a showbiz PR agent than a legal lawyer and manipulates the tabloids into thinking Hart is no more than an innocent 'good time girl' who took the wrong path, than a scheming murderess. The tabloids go crazy for the new girl on the cell block, and Roxie becomes a star.

But whether Hart's stardom will last or not, is something that this musical beautifully showcases.

First Published: Mar 21, 2003 14:20 IST