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All That Jazz

54. All That Jazz (1979)

All That Jazz is one of the wildest and most provocative character studies I've ever seen. It's inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2 in the sense that it's mainly about a director/choreographer, his inner psychological troubles and his observations of life and existence in general.

Joe Gideon (played by Roy Scheider), our main character, is a chain smoking film director/choreographer who is addicted to drugs and sex and who's obsessed with death. The film projects his ideas and creativity on the screen making use of a bunch of fantastic and highly original musical numbers and a few surreal dream sequences containing his muse, Angelique (played by Jessica Lange).
Joe's wild lifestyle starts to keep up with him, though, and slowly he feels his health deteriorating. He feels life slipping away. He observes his past and his present situation, while starting to grasp the concept of mortality, but he is not able to change who he is or what his extreme way of living has made him become.

Despite its heavy themes, the film never goes into overly dramatical territory, though. Everything always has a darkly comic and sensational touch to it, which makes it much more entertaining to watch than pure dramas. We are still emotionally engaged with what's going on however, because of brilliantly focused cynicism and because All That Jazz, despite all the dark implications that are made throughout he movie, does have an effective and affective heart at its core, be it a very rotten and ravaged one. This all makes for a piece of art that's equally entertaining, hilarious and dramatically satisfying, which is very rare.

This wild motion picture deserves to be watched by every cinephile out there who isn't afraid of profound filmmaking. Your imagination will be tickled, your philosophical self will be provoked and you'll be entertained! This film presents show business at its most effective and self aware! What would you want more out of a movie?
Be sure to check this one out for the '70s list if you think it could be something for you!

The very last shot with that ending song is one of my favorite cynical final film moments of all time. DO NOT WATCH this when you haven't seen the whole movie yet!