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Overall Rating

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 Greg Muskewitz

"Have legs, will travel."
4 stars

A labor of love for the star Neve Campbell, a quondam terpsichorean herself, she takes part in producing and writing the story of this oblique drama that uses a vérité documentary approach to the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

It’s first and foremost concerned with the ballet itself, the exhaustive rehearsals, the extravagant performances, the behind-the-scenes injuries (and occasionally, in front), the competitive nature and ego that come with the territory. That Campbell’s character (one of only three “real” actors in the film, followed by Malcolm McDowell and James Franco) and her partner get to perform at the film’s first public event (stunningly done alfresco), it is only a mixture of luck when the original duo is pulled due to one-half’s neck spasm, and at the end of the film the cycle comes to a full circle in exhibiting the span and vicissitudes that provide the unexpected opportunities for other performers to get their chance. Which, as it becomes blatantly clear, may be one’s only chance. Any real sense of focus is foregone instead for the delicately shot peeks and glances into the preparation for, and the presentation of, the company’s seasonal pieces. Shot by Andrew Dunn (Robert Altman’s DP for Gosford Park), despite a certain filminess to it, alternating at times between brittle and flaccid, the main concern is the dutiful capture of the dance form in all of its own complexities without the additional razzle-dazzle of photographic trickery. Altman’s status as a gun-for-hire still heeds his ability to mingle within characters’ space, but the attention to the ballet, and the photography of it, strain to remain as unobtrusive to the action as possible, allowing the performers’ skills to deliver on their own merits (including Campbell’s). And all the time, regardless of how busy and full the stage can become, Dunn and Altman still leave so much space open for the dance to move about in. (My own favorite piece had Campbell melting into her partner’s posture, and moved by his puppeteer-like control.) Anything else that hits the film’s peripheral vision is pure tergiversation, particularly the rice paper-thin dialogue, which comes as an afterthought. Perhaps the reason it works better that way is because the film isn’t tied down with the propensity to dramatize the characterizations or flesh them out with soap opera-like motives. Like a student who may share classes with any number of unknown peers, you get pieces of their life from daily attendance, but nothing more, and with no need to go any further.


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originally posted: 02/13/04 18:05:31
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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-à-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
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  25-Dec-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004



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