Holy hell that was good.
It was an interesting experience to watch Cabaret, I knew nothing about it and only heard the name mentioned in passing, so I decided on a whim to review it when I had other contenders because I wanted to know more about it. At first I found the style and direction a bit odd, but as the movie progressed I became more in tune with the movie and greatly appreciated it to the point where when the credits rolled I was thoroughly impressed. But it wasn't so much the story, or characters, or dialogue, or any singular aspect of the film, but all the elements combined as a whole. The story is really bare bones with a british writer living in 1930s Berlin with an american performer who works at a cabaret as a friendship and soon romance build between them. Now that might sound so uninteresting but when you see the film it makes sense. The best and only way I can describe it is the main characters very much live in a bubble of their own, never acknowledging the grim meathook realities of Germany at that time and living absent mindedly. Which is personified in Liza Minelli's character Sally who I totally loved but also at the same time I couldn't fully grasp her character, not in a bad way by any stretch of the imagination because the performance and writing is really good, but she seems very scatter brained and has dreams of becoming rich and an actress while having a very wild personality. It's so different but she feels like a incredibly real person, you don't know everything about the friends and people in your life, unlike in films where every bit of information is dolled out to us, there's for lack of a better word ambiguity to her just like a real world human being. Michael York is quite good too, more or less a blank slate that we see this town and these characters through his eyes but fine work regardless. I would absolutely classify this as a unconventional musical, there are a handful of songs throughout and they do reflect upon certain aspects of the plot, but every musical number is performed at the cabaret or a venue, there is no elaborate song and dance numbers on a sidewalk or a bedroom, everything you see is done diegetically in the real world. Which is not what you would normally consider a musical, and to be honest the best songs are done by Liza but the thing is, a cabaret venue is not where you go to listen to great music, outstanding vocals, or dramatic performances. It is escapist entertainment of the common kind. Which I genuinely appreciate, and the film flat out says you come to the cabaret to forget your lives and troubles and that life itself is a cabaret. That is more accurate now than back then in the 30s. Do you have any idea how much media exists today where it's just there for brief entertainment that encompasses all types of variety? That practically embodies YouTube. And the one song that isn't performed at the cabaret, Tomorrow Belongs To Me caught some heat back then because people thought it was a pro-nazi song and granted you hear this quite nice song being performed by a young boy with a really good voice only to discover he's part of the Hitler youth is kind of chilling, and that entire scene could be a microcosm of Germany at that moment of time. You just don't expect that. And that's how I would sum Cabaret up, an unexpected pleasure. Yes, it's always great fun to talk about the movies you love and enjoy but in my humble opinion the movies you walk out of with so much more than you expected, are the best movie going experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and understand why it practically almost swept the Oscars in 1973, winning almost every category it was nominated for except for Best Picture and Best Script. An easy 4 stars, 8/10! A strong end to this week but what will come next? Difficult to see, always in motion is the future so join me this weekend to discuss plans of action.