March 16, 2004

Point Those Toes, Babies

Cinecultist never could be a ballet dancer, the feet are much too leaden and the idea of only eating fish and salad sort of depresses us. But apparently former child television actress Neve Campbell always longed for pointe shoes and she has the chance to show off her considerable dancing talent in Robert Altman's newest, The Company. Starring the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, as well as Malcolm McDowell and James Franco both in non-dancing roles, the film alternates between elaborately staged dance sequences and a fiction following a young dancer (Campbell) becoming a principal at the Joffrey.

This kind of story is perfect for Altman's pseudo-documentary style, as his camera sort of spies on the characters, pulling in closer for us to hear the juiciest gossip and then swooping away to follow other action occurring out of frame. There's also the requisite gentle mocking of the subject Altman is so obsessively following, but unlike in Pret A Porter where that ribbing deteriorates the fiction because the object is so ridiculous, in the Company the expectation that the bizarre ballet we've seen coming together will flop, is turned on its head by the beauty of the dancing despite those odd costumes and painted faces. Campbell brought the film's concept to Christine Vachon's Killer Films, created the story, worked on the script with writer Barbara Turner and stars in some of the most rigorous dances of the film -- begrudgingly Cinecultist may have to forget her obnoxious whine from "the Party of Five" and even shelve in our mind the insult that was Two to Tango in favor of respect for her co-authoring/creating of this film with Altman. Dammit, another seemingly rational blind judgment overturned!

[Not So Confidential to Peter Howell of the Toronto Star, an Altman movie indie 'nough for you? Just because CC is of the Eee Vee doesn't mean our taste has to be high fallutin'. We do the High and the Low -- and we are enjoying ourselves, thanks for noticing.]

Posted by karen at March 16, 2004 8:17 AM