In this Oscar-winning film based on a Broadway play, Velma Kelly is a notorious vaudeville singer who kills her husband and sister after they are found in bed together. Roxie Hart is an aspiring singer who kills her illicit lover after he tries to leave her. They are both accused of murder and are represented by the brilliant defense attorney Billy Flynn. Flynn aims to exonerate them of their crimes by manipulating media coverage and skillfully controlling the public faces of his clients. But if Velma and Roxy care more about their spotlight, will they end up swinging from the gallows or freeing themselves?
Chicago Movie Report
Below is an overview of the spoilers.
In 1924, the city of Chicago was in the midst of Prohibition. Famous singer Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) plays All That Jazz in a Chicago theater after her husband Charlie and sister Veronica were murdered when they found them in their bed. Velma was arrested after the show. Aspiring artist Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger), who dreams of becoming a star, is on board. Sometime after the show, Roxy meets Fred Casely (Dominic West), the man she has behind her husband Amos (John C. Reilly). Caisley promised Roxie that he would introduce her to Velma’s manager, but he used it as a ploy to sleep with her. Roxy is very angry about the deception and shoots Caisley with a gun from a drawer in her room.
Before the police arrive, Roxie convinces her husband to take the blame by pointing out that she killed the thief in self-defense. When the police begin to question Amos, he soon realizes that he knows the victim and that the police have evidence that Casely and Roxy were having an affair. Amos changes his mind and refuses to confess. He tells the police that Roxie is the one who shot Casely. Roxie confessed to shooting Caisley and was arrested. Soon after, ambitious prosecutor Martin Harrison (Colm Feore) decides to make a name for himself and announces that he will seek the death penalty against Roxie.
Upon arrival at the Cook County Jail, Roxy finds herself among the killers under the watchful eye of the corrupt warden, Matron Mama Morton (Queen Latifah). Velma is also on Murderers Row, but she’s not interested in Roxy, who is trying to befriend the infamous singer. Roxie learns the stories of the other women in her cell, all of whom agree that they are not guilty of his murders. Roxy asks her mother for advice on what to do. His mother advises him to seek the help of the famous and brilliant criminal lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere). Billy and Roxy manipulate the press to make it look like Roxy fell into the fast-paced world of jazz and booze and was trying to end her illicit affair with Casely when she saw the error of her ways. His made-up story is that Kaisley got angry and Roxy acted in self-defense when she and Kaisley took a gun. The press believes the story, loves the tragic heroine.
As the press follows her story, Roxy becomes more popular than Velma. Vera is unhappy about losing her focus and, more importantly, Billy’s focus on his business. Velma tries to convince Roxie to replace her sister in her act, hoping to bring her back into the spotlight. Roxy rejects Velma’s desperate offer, treating her with as much contempt as the singer treated Roxy when they first met.
Kitty Baxter (Lucy Liu), a millionaire heiress who murdered her husband and the two women with whom she found him in bed, soon joins the killers. Kitty doesn’t apologize for her crimes and hires Billy to represent her. The press and Billy love the spectacle of Kitty’s case and soon forget about Roxy’s. Desperate, Roxie grabs the spotlight and pretends to be pregnant with Amos’ baby. Billy meets with Amos and tells him that the child that doesn’t exist is not his, but Casely’s. Billy tells Amos that he needs to divorce Roxy to get more support for his client. Roxy doesn’t like that Billy is more focused on the case than she is and she temporarily rejects him because she thinks she can win the case on her own. But when Katalin Helinski (Ekaterina Shchelkanova), a Hungarian woman who consistently maintains her innocence, becomes the first woman in Cook County history to be executed, Roxie realizes the gravity of the situation and hires Billy for the job.
As Roxy’s trial begins, Billy opens the room and brings some light into the courtroom. The media, especially radio host Maria Sunshine (Christine Baranski), pounced on Billy’s performance. Billy discredits one witness after another, manipulates the evidence and organizes a public reconciliation between Roxy and Amos. Things go Roxie’s way until the state calls a surprise witness, Velma Kelly. Velma testifies in prison about the contents of Roxy’s diary, which contradicts Roxy’s sympathetic legal nature. But Billy discredits the paper by suggesting that it was Harrison who planted the evidence and offered Velma a deal if she testified for the state against Roxy.
Roxy is acquitted, but her attention turns to the fact that the media begins to track down the new killer just minutes after the verdict is announced. Believing in their reconciliation in court, Amos lovingly waits for her after the trial, but Roxie has no interest in finding the simple man and tells him she never had a child. Amos also turned away from Roxy and left her alone.
Soon after, Roxy struggled with her role as a performer. Spotlight has been around for a long time and always gets rejected at auditions. Vera introduces herself one day and points out that she too is having trouble finding work and is looking for a new hook. Velma suggests that the two killers work together for a double play. Roxy was initially against the idea, but eventually changed her mind. Soon after, an energetic show on two stages impressed the audience, the press and Billy Flynn. Velma and Roxy receive a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the film.
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