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Overall Rating
3.68

Awesome: 22.73%
Worth A Look36.36%
Average: 29.55%
Pretty Bad: 9.09%
Total Crap: 2.27%

5 reviews, 14 user ratings


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Company, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"Poetry in motion."
5 stars

The eponymous "Company" of Neve Campbell's and Robert Altman's collaboration is The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, whose members perform stunningly in Campbell's valentine to the dance.

Campbell, who studied with the National Ballet School of Canada before turning her talents to acting (in TV's Party of Five), co-wrote the story of The Company with Barbara Turner, who penned the screenplay adaptation. Sinking a huge amount of her own money into the film's production, she wisely chose Altman, a master at turning the comings-and-goings of individuals in insular societies into fascinating material, to direct this bird's eye view of a year in the life of a ballet community that is a world unto itself.

Campbell wrote a part for herself as Loretta "Ry" Ryan, a young dancer with a bright future, who she (also wisely) keeps out of the limelight save for a small romance with a sous chef (James Franco). In this, and any, dance company, it is made abundantly clear, there are only four "stars": The director, the choreographer, the dance itself, and the troupe, which functions as a unit, a sum far greater than its individual parts. These are people whose lives are dedicated to the pursuit of their craft, to the exclusion of almost all else (except drinking, it would appear here); whose fortunes rise and fall on the snap of an Achilles tendon; whose show goes on notwithstanding a lightning storm or an injury mid-performance.

Malcolm McDowell is the director, Alberto Antonelli, or "Mr. A," modeled on Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino -- and perhaps another egotistical, benevolent autocrat, Mr. Altman himself. Robert Desrosiers (as himself) is the choreographer obsessed with staging the wildly over-the-top Blue Snake ballet around Mr. A's, and the board of directors', admonitions about "budget, budget, budget." The troupe are the young people who, when not transported by the dance, struggle with the mundane -- stretching tight budgets by waiting tables and sleeping 12 to an apartment, coping with divorced parents and pushy mothers, dealing with the stresses of job politics while pushing their bodies to their physical limits and beyond. Notable, too, is Mr. A's assistant Harriet (Barbara Robertson), a former dancer who finds reprieve alone at the barre, taking up her gear with a sigh as the young dancers file in for their practice.

Among the highlights of the dances, many seen in rehearsal as well as in staged performance: Campbell and Domingo Rubio performing an elegant pas de deux (Lar Lubovitch's "My Funny Valentine") in the midst of a lightning storm in Chicago's Grant Park; Alwin Nikolais' "Tensile Involvement," as fresh today as it was when it was created 50 years ago; Arpino's own "Suite Saint-Saens," "Light Rain," and "Trinity," all still featured in the Joffrey Chicago repertoire; and the film's riveting showpiece, an excerpt from "White Widow," by Moses Pendleton and Cynthia Quinn, in which a solo dancer, suspended on stage in a swing, twirls gracefully, accompanied by the ethereally-voiced Julee Cruise singing "The World Spins" (music and lyrics by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch). I couldn't tear my eyes away!

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8423&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/20/04 06:13:55
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User Comments

3/17/16 Anne I'm reviewing it as it is playing.....narcissistic and plastic 2 stars
3/10/09 Dane Youssef A completely honest, dazzilingly beautiful and harrowing portrait of professional ballet. 5 stars
5/21/06 mr.mike this altman fan didn't like it 2 stars
3/14/05 albert the best neve campbell yet 4 stars
3/04/05 axefell I applaud the effort, a nice double bill with The Red Shoes 4 stars
7/21/04 Laura Shangraw Really liked the dancing 3 stars
6/16/04 elizaveta some people seem to forget that film, like books, don't ALWAYS have to be plot-based.idiots 4 stars
6/15/04 cabot you should see it 5 stars
6/08/04 Fred Awful 1 stars
4/21/04 mech Terrible: no plot, no characters, no emotion. Like Prete-ŕ-Porter and the Doctor.T...BAD 2 stars
3/16/04 Megan Okoniewski Maybe its just because ilm a dancer, but i thought it was really good. 5 stars
3/06/04 john great surprise and so beautiful, simple, artistic..lovely , awesome dance and grace 5 stars
2/16/04 linda troiano Loved the slice of life view of the dance world 4 stars
2/13/04 EJJ Dance fantastic with sad lack of overall focus on what direction to take the film 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  13-May-2004




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