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dir Max & Dania
scr Jane English
prd Allan Niblo, James Richardson
with Nichola Burley, Richard Winsor, Charlotte Rampling, Ukweli Roach, Teneisha Bonner, Bradley Charles, Hugo Cortes, Sianad Gregory, Jeremy Sheffield, Frank Harper, Eleanor Bron, Patrick Baladi
release UK 21.May.10
10/UK Vertigo 1h38
Let's dance: Burley
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Directors Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini boldly apply 3D filmmaking to the dance genre with this energetic British drama. The requirements of the formula are too strong to resist, but the film is thoroughly watchable thanks to its skilled cast.
Carly (Burley) is horrified when her boyfriend Jay (Roach) announces that not only is he leaving their successful street dance crew, but he also wants to break up with her. Suddenly she's in charge of the team, and she makes a deal with a ballet teacher (Rampling) to use a dance studio in exchange for adding five of the students to her team. One of them, Tomas (Winsor), takes a special interest in Carly, but the ballet dancers struggle to add street-cred to their moves. And the big competition is in just five weeks.
If you've ever seen one of these movies (from Step Up and You've Got Served to the recent British variation Freestyle), you know that there will be a pointless plot twist that adds unnecessary tension to the final act. On the other hand, this film has something those other films lack: raw passion. Despite some uneven acting and direction in the dramatic scenes, the characters are actually likeable and realistic, and their physicality expresses their personality beautifully. We haven't really seen this on-screen since Flashdance.
Burley is terrific in the central role, and her chemistry with both Roach and Winsor transcends the PG-certificate corniness, mainly thanks to her earthy tetchiness and the fact that her refreshingly understated personal journey is more important than any romantic subplot. It also of course helps to have Rampling and other seasoned pros giving the film some unexpected elegance and class.
But of course it's the dancing that we've come to see, and the film certainly doesn't disappoint. The choreography is terrific--both ballet and street-dancing as well as mash-ups of the two. And the 3D is impressive as well, with witty touches along the way, including a fantastic food fight. And even when the plot groans and clanks, the film has enough humour, spirit and joy to keep us engaged right to the exuberant finale.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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