Rarely does a movie come along that is so breathtaking and beautifully done, that a detailed plot is not necessary to carry the movie. No, I'm not talking about "Torque" or "You Got Served," I'm talking about "The Company," the new film from director Robert Altman ("Godsford Park").
"The Company" follows the members of Chicago's famous Joffrey Ballet, focusing on up and coming dancer, Ry (Neve Campbell from the Scream series and TV's "Party of Five"). Ry is talented and strong, but emotionally damaged. Her relationships with her nagging mother, her ex-boyfriend/ex-ballet partner, her teachers, eccentric company leader Alberto Antonelli (Malcolm McDowell) and her new love interest, Josh (James Franco from "Spiderman"), make up the thin plot. The stunning dance scenes, however, take care of the rest.
I have always liked Neve Campbell, and I am happy to see her finally steal the show. She has obvious talent, but in the past she has never captured viewers the way she does in this movie. Campbell trained as a dancer most of her life in her home country of Canada, but had to give up dancing due to injuries. Her passion has returned full-on in the form of this movie. Though she is the only actress in the movie to play a dancer (the other dancers are portrayed by actual ballet dancers with the Joffrey Ballet), seeing her perform would make you think that she was born in toe shoes. Her training and talent as a dancer are apparent, especially in the scene with dancer Domingo Rubio, where the pair dance flawlessly in the midst of a rainstorm.
All around me in the theater, jaws dropped during the intense and undeniably sexy dance scenes. From a woman suspended from the ceiling spinning and swinging in a dream-like twirl of lights, to dancers in animal suits speeding out of a mechanical snake mouth, the choreography varies in style but is always passionate. In other words, this ain't your grandma's Swan Lake. Nor is it the ballet that I learned as a 7-year-old with daydreams of tutus and toe shoes. This ballet is powerful, colorful -- and often risqué.
In short, the lack of storyline would hurt most films, but it is actually ideal for "The Company" because it means that audiences can focus on the dancing. The beautiful movements make it well worth seeing. In fact, once may not be enough.
Darla Walters Gary is a WireTap staff writer. She lives in Oakland, California and is a senior at Far West High School.