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Awesome: 22.73%
Worth A Look36.36%
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Sucks: 2.27%

5 reviews, 14 user ratings

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Company, The
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by John Rice

"Robert Altman gets a little too...Altman."
3 stars

It is always a pleasure to see a familiar actor reveal a previously unknown talent. I had heard somewhere, at some time, that Neve Campbell used to be a ballet dancer but gave it up due to injury. Often, that is code for, "she wasn't very good." In The Company, Campbell shows she does have genuine talent for ballet. Maybe not quite Joffrey talent, but plenty for a fictional movie about the Joffrey Ballet Company. Campbell is actually the primary reason The Company was even made. She co-authored the story, what little of it there is, and is reported to have provided most of the funding.

Loretta Ryan (Campbell) more commonly known as "Ry" is an up and coming dancer in the Joffrey Ballet Company of Chicago. The company director, Alberto Antonelli (Malcolm McDowell) praises her when it seems beneficial, but it is also difficult to determine when he is being honest, since he has a particularly well developed knack for avoiding the uglier aspects of his job. Like many dancers and actors, Ry works nights as a waitress in a club. Her mother can hardly restrain her "stage mom" impulses and Ry seems to keep her at a barely manageable distance.

Practices at the company are endless and grueling. Performers are often replaced with no warning and directions change simply because the way Antonelli wanted a number performed yesterday is not the way he wants it performed today. Egos constantly conflict and it often seems as though nobody is quite communicating. In the end, a wonderful performance always seems to evolve from the chaos.

If it seems odd that I don't discuss more of the story in The Company it is because there isn't much of one. The film plays almost as a documentary, with "characters" moving in and out as it progresses. This is a common style for director Robert Altman, but this time it goes just a bit too far. The only remotely dramatic development in the entire 2 hours is a relationship between Ry and Josh (James Franco) a cook she meets at a local restaurant.

The bulk of the film is spent demonstrating how delicate the career of a ballet dancer is. They are replaced for little or no reason and worst of all, they become injured. One scene has an especially talented dancer being asked to show how a particular piece should be performed. Midway through the demonstration she falls to the floor with a stunned look on her face. She knows her achilles tendon has just ruptured and her career is probably over. She is carried away and practice continues.

Amid the often almost mundane story of The Company are several moments of visual beauty. A duet performance involving Ry to "My Funny Valentine" is particularly memorable, not only for the dance, but also for the rather unusual decision to have it take place during an outdoor performance with a storm approaching. This is the moment when Ry begins to gain attention and one of the few dramatic ones in the film. A number late in the film with a single dancer using a rope swing is also particularly memorable for its visual beauty.

This review originally appeared on Slacker-Reviews.com

The Company can hardly be considered a success. It takes the trademark Altman subtlety just a bit too far and will tend to leave the viewer wondering what took 2 hours to accomplish. It has some moments and the dance performances are always stunning, it just needs more substance.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8423&reviewer=373
originally posted: 10/02/04 20:03:59
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User Comments

3/16/16 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
5/20/06 mr.mike this altman fan didn't like it 2 stars
3/13/05 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
7/20/04 Laura Shangraw Really liked the dancing 3 stars
6/15/04 elizaveta some people seem to forget that film, like books, don't ALWAYS have to be plot-based.idiots 4 stars
6/14/04 cabot you should see it 5 stars
6/07/04 Fred Awful 1 stars
4/21/04 mech Terrible: no plot, no characters, no emotion. Like Prete--Porter and the Doctor.T...BAD 2 stars
3/15/04 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
2/15/04 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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