The world where a crime is merely a nourishment for press and a trial is just a show where a criminal has his 5 min of fame. Forgotten victim, manipulation and easily convincable jury - this is what constitutes justice in the Windy City. Where is the truth? How far can we go in retelling the story for the sake of winning the case?
Roxie Hart, bored downtown housewife, seeks for excitment outside her marriage. Not only that however. She betrays her husband with a furniture seller who promises her to introduce her to some prominent guy who will enable her the career of actres she has always dreamt about. When the obvious verity comes out and the guy beats her up, she, ripped off her hopes, shoots him. This is her first step to career. The second is when she hires a 'never-lost-a-case' lawer Billy. Then everything accelerates. He uses media to spotlight Roxie's case and teaches her the art of semblance. The truth is not what the jury needs to hear, they need the past so coloured that they will mercy the criminal. Billy, in a singy way, presents the ugly reality of justice administration and the people who crave for some fresh flesh. Before Roxie's case Velma Kelly, another killer, was the famous one - she had all the headlines and hot publicity. Now, in jail both fight rather for the attention of media than for the winning of the case because they know that a good lawer, which they already have, may give them existence, but only newspapers can give them 'being' they desire. Nevertheless, once the case is won they cease to be interesting and so, also popular. One case follows another,audience wants to be suprised by yet another homicide.
Chicago can really make us think that a trial has nothing to do with the truth, that is is just about the show. Billy sings gently: 'razzle-dazzle them', give them fleshes, passion, give them show! and compares the trial to the circus. And what is the show about? Acting and make-believe! She dresses Roxie so that she looks modest, teaches word-by-word how to answer the questions - Billy knows the language of the jury, realizes that appearances can do more good for him than the truth. More! He doesn't even take the truth into consideration. He doesn't even ask about it when he meets the client. This is a good trick: if he knew the truth it would be for him unethical to encourage Roxie to plead not guilty. He doesn't ask, so he can invent the entire story and so, manipulate the jury. He escapes from thinking - he puts his client into such stories which he knows allow to avert conviction instead of exercising with factual situations. It sortov shows that justice administration totally diverges from morals and that it is essential for you to hire a lawer to win - otherwise you would be inclined to tell the truth and end up on a death row... Just like their Hungarian friend who got hung because she didn't know what to say (and most probably she wouldn't know how to say it as well), had no lawer and proper publicity; her case however was deadly similar to Roxie's and Velma's cases, so we see that the justice relies grossly on the lawer who constructs the defence.
The crime is cool. It is fun to know the details, have the same haircut as the criminal and buy your daughter a Roxie-doll. To be a part of the show - of course! Press just feeds the appetites of news-hungry rabble and temporarily puts on pedestal yet another crime celebrity. Therefore, the importance of the media is overwhelming as it wins some 'sympathy-points' for the accused. Therefore, the lawers has to belong and inscribe himself into this mass hysteria and play in the court. Example? Billy gives Roxie a tissue even before she starts crying. Or another. He shouts 'objection' before a prosecutor askes a question. Silly? Yes,but this is what people want.
The interesting side-plot in the film is the relationships in the jail, namely the relationship between jail's 'Mama' and her girls. 'When you are good to Mama, Mama's good to You'. Mama Morton can make a call to get a lawer for you, buy some shampoo you wouldn't get in the jail and so on. She enables a criminal to get out of prison by helping with small things which amount to big part of the defence. Although she does it for money, she also establishes some kind of connection with the girls as she wants to be in the show. Her vanity pushes her to safely benefit from the popularity of those under her charge while not being punished in case the case fails. Mama Morton also colaborates with Velma and advices her - the diary issue - she plays an important role from the backstage. She is the part of the maschinery and knows of the lies of Velma and Roxie but does nothing to bring the girls to REAL justice. Yet another example that justice administration is corrupted and immoral... Billy wins the cases for fame (I forgot to mention that during the press conference this was he who answered the questions, not Roxie - this is his show in fact, criminals are just the dolls who think it is all about them), Morton doesn't make justice happen because the intrigue and injustice are more fascinating.
The last aspect I will briefly mention here is Roxie's pregnancy. 'Fake' pregnancy. When the ground benath her started to burn she got this brilliant idea to pretend she is expecting a baby. Yet another dirty trick... How far can one go to reach for what he wants? That far. Show must go on.