The Phantom of the Opera  (2004)    73/100

Rating :   73/100                                                                     143 Min        12A

To be fair, I’ve never seen the musical, nor any of the previous film versions, but with Andrew Lloyd Webber on both production and screenplay duties it’s probably fair to say this film was made in much the same spirit as his stage version that captivated audiences around the world and has become the longest running and most financially successful show in Broadway history, claiming many such accolades from around the globe (just to be clear, this is the cinematic version of that same show, as opposed to another film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s 1909 novel, from which the musical is adapted). It’s directed by Joel Schumacher who not only manages to fit in a Batman reference with one of the masks in the masquerade scene, but injects a certain fiery passion into the whole. From the lustre of the rich and vibrant set design and costumes, to the sense of naïve innocence rocking in the wake of the Phantom’s damned passion, (here played by an intense Gerard Butler with Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson as Christine and Raoul respectively) it’s a tale of social isolation and interminable lust that proves vivid and alive enough to enthral even those normally turned away at the prospect of watching a musical.

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