HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Company, The Lord Of The Dance
Year: 2003
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, James Franco, Barbara E. Robertson, William Dick, Susie Cusack, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Robert Desrosiers
Genre: Musical, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Although ostensibly an ensemble comedy drama, Robert Altman’s seminal 1975 film Nashville was as much a musical as a study of character and place. The film would frequently pause to showcase the songs of its performers – sometimes several in a row – with no great urgency to get back to the stories. This is the approach that Altman adopts for The Company, an intimate look at the work of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet Company. Working from a script by Barbara Turner and co-producer/star Neve Campbell, Altman’s film is part semi-documentary – 90% of the cast play themselves – part drama and part dance movie. The Company is as light on actual ‘plot’ as any film in the director’s filmography; there are characters, relationships and dramatic scenes but very little story to string them together. As Altman himself says: "I'm not much interested in stories anyway. I'm more interested in reactive behaviour."

Campbell plays Ry, an upcoming dancer with the Joffrey, which is run by Alberto Antonelli (Malcolm McDowell), a flamboyant man constantly trying to balance the artistic side of his company with the harsh realities of finding finance for their productions. Elsewhere, there’s Josh (James Franco), a young chef who begins a romance with Ry, Robert Desrosiers (playing himself), the company’s ambitious choreographer, and a large cast of dancers, trainers, parents and producers. We never learn much about these people – Altman’s technique is to just drop in on them, spending enough time to get the gist of the scene before moving off elsewhere.

In less certain hands this could be incredibly frustrating, but Altman is an old hand at this sort of thing, and his cast – both professionals and non-professionals – rise to challenge. Much of the time is spent observing rehearsals and the tensions that the long hours and intense physical demands of the dances inevitably create. There’s a quietly shocking moment when a dancer snaps her Achilles tendon – both she and her colleagues know instantly that her career is now over, but no one can let it interrupt rehearsals; she is quickly and quietly replaced by another dancer. Malcolm McDowell has a moving scene where he speaks about the devestating effect that AIDS had upon the ballet community during the '80s: "Such a terrible disease, so many losses..." And the budding romance between Campbell and Franco is nicely handled through glances, movement and little dialogue. Both have creative careers that mean long hours and late nights (Ry also works in a bar to support herself), but Altman presents this is an accepted reality, not as a source of contrived drama that a lesser director might.

It’s during the ballet sequences that The Company really takes flight. These range from the traditional to the modern, and Altman and director of photography Andrew Dunn capture the beauty of the performances by shooting with multiple high-definition digital cameras. Campbell (herself a trained dancer) performs a spectacular Pas De Deux on an outdoor stage, as an approaching storm whips up leaves around her and her partner, while David Lynch fans will love the mesmerising sequence in which a lone dancer cavorts on a swing to the haunting sounds of Julee Cruise. The film climaxes with a performance of a bizarre futuristic piece called The Blue Snake – actually a real ballet that Robert Desrosiers choreographed in the mid-80s, although the crazy, brightly-coloured animal costumes almost suggest that Altman is mocking modern ballet forms.

The Company will certainly not appeal to ballet-haters or those looking for conventional drama. But Altman and Campbell’s willingness to place the artform itself ahead of narrative and character is admirable, and this unusual, sometimes breathtaking film leaves a lasting impression in the mind. Original music by skewed pop-orchestrator Van Dyke Parks.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 5785 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Robert Altman  (1925 - 2006)

Maverick director responsible for some of the most distinctive American films of the last 35 years. After serving in the military during the 1940s, Altman learnt his filmmaking craft by making advertisements and training films before breaking into TV, where he worked throughout the sixties. Altman's breakthrough feature was MASH in 1970, an acerbic Oscar-winning Korean war comedy that introduced his chaotic, overlapping narrative style. Throughout the seventies, Altman turned in a series of acclaimed films including Images, Brewster McCloud, California Split, The Long Goodbye, the western McCabe & Mrs Miller and the brilliant musical drama Nashville. The 1980s proved to be less successful, as Altman struggled in a decade of slick blockbusters to raise funds for his idiosyncratic movies; nevertheless, the likes of Popeye, Fool for Love and Vincent & Theo were all flawed but interesting work.

Altman returned to the A-list of directors with 1992's cameo-laden Hollywood satire The Player, which was followed by the superb ensemble drama Short Cuts, based on the stories of Raymond Carver. Since then until his death Altman turned in almost a film a year, which ranged from the great (Gosford Park, The Company) to the less impressive (Dr T & The Women, The Gingerbread Man), but always intelligent and unusual. At over 80, Altman remained an outspoken anti-Hollywood figure who showed no sign of slowing down right until the end, with his last film A Prairie Home Companion released in 2006.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: