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||IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from 5,323 votes
||Release: 5 February 2004 (Netherlands) /
||Genre: Drama, Music, Musical, Romance
||Director: Robert Altman,
||Stars: Barbara E. Robertson, David Gombert, Davis C. Robertson, Deborah Dawn, James Franco, John Gluckman, John Lordan, Malcolm McDowell, Mariann Mayberry, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Neve Campbell, Roderick Peeples, Susie Cusack, William Dick, Yasen Peyankov
||Synopsis: An inside look at the world of ballet. With the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Altman follows the stories of the dancers, whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close, as they cope with the demands of a life in the ballet. Campbell plays a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer at a fictional Chicago troupe, with McDowell the company's co-founder and artistic director, considered one of America's most exciting choreographers. Franco plays Campbell's boyfriend and one of the few characters not involved in the world of dance. Written by Andrea Barney <[email protected].com>
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Watch The Company - Alternative Versions.
The DVD extras with some movies make the film seem better than it did
just watching it. "The Company" is a good example.
I'd wondered, briefly, why star Neve Campbell also got producer credit.
The DVD 'making of' documentary explains that the whole project was her
idea; she'd been a dancer long before she took up acting, and wanted to
combine the two. She chose Altman to direct, because of his skill at
portraying relations and interactions among people in groups.
Altman did a fine job depicting dance, both rehearsals and
performances. Campbell showed she can still dance. Malcolm McDowell
gave a great performance as the acerbic company director. The Joffrey
dancers were brilliant. Altman has created a dazzling cinematic album
of what the world of dance is like at the beginning of the 21st
But the story arc was weak. This was no accident. In a recent (October
2004) interview, Altman said:
Question: "Why do you think you're drawn to stories about big groups of
people sharing the same space? Did it have anything to do with growing
up in such a large, close-knit family?"
Robert Altman: "Possibly. I don't know. That's a little too cerebral
for me. I'm not much interested in stories anyway. I'm more interested
in reactive behavior."
That sums up "The Company" very nicely. The movie is a montage of
scenes of "reactive behavior" among realistic characters, and in this
it is more like real life than a more structured story would have been.
Of course there is some story structure here, involving the creation of
a new dance. This story is engaging, because the outside choreographer
is a fey flake, and dance disaster seems foredoomed. But the dancers,
being good soldiers, follow his orders diligently. And despite all
expectations, at least all of my expectations, their climactic
performance is superb.
But this story is not central to the movie. Again like life, it unfolds
amidst all sorts of other organizational and interpersonal drama.
And for this reason the movie left me unsatisfied. Part of what I look
for in movies, and in books, is a story arc: a beginning, a middle, and
an end. I look for this precisely because life is rarely that neat.
Many directors deliver this arc (and many more try to, and fail).
Robert Altman chose not to try. He is free to do that, and I am free to
rate this movie 7/10.
Tags for The Company Full Movie
Barbara E. Robertson
, David Gombert
, Davis C. Robertson
, Deborah Dawn
, James Franco
, John Gluckman
, John Lordan
, Malcolm McDowell
, Mariann Mayberry
, Marilyn Dodds Frank
, Neve Campbell
, Roderick Peeples
, Susie Cusack
, William Dick
, Yasen Peyankov
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