Ballroom Dancer

"Good"

Ballroom Dancer Review


Danish filmmakers Bonke and Koefoed keep their cameras so intimate that this movie feels more like an intensely emotional drama than a documentary. They seem to be holding on for the ride, letting their subject take them in unexpected directions. And this makes the film thoroughly engaging to watch, because it offers more than a fly-on-the-wall look at a ballroom dancer: it's an exploration of the artistic process, warts and all.

It has been 10 years since Slavik was the World Latin Dance champion, and he can no longer bear to watch his ex Joanna and her new partner Michael rule the ballroom dance floors. Still in peak physical shape at 34, he partners with his girlfriend Anna to take them on and reclaim the title. Their technical and artistic skills are undeniable, but Slavik's moody perfectionism threatens to undo everything he has worked for. In his quest for victory, he mercilessly criticises Anna during competitions in Moscow and Britain. And now she's seriously thinking about leaving him before the next big event in Hong Kong.

There's no way the filmmakers could have known where this story would go when they started following Slavik's comeback attempt, but they clearly saw potential in his mercurial personality. And indeed, he often seems so self-involved that we can't understand why Anna ever started working with him, although there are hints that they were happy before his obsessive return to competition. Most of what we see is passive-aggressive martyrdom as he relentlessly torments Anna and everyone else around him. Obviously, watching his emotional collapse is gripping.

And it's the intimate nature of the filming that makes it so compelling to watch. Bonke and Koefoeld never cut away from even the most painful interaction, which lets us see Slavik's astonishing talent, mental instability and gift for dramatics. Sometimes all of this feels far too invasive, including some deeply personal moments between Slavik and Anna. But the filmmakers never manipulate the material, showing it without narration or analysis and very little background information. And most telling is how Slavik and Anna are able to express their feelings much more movingly through dance than they are through words.

Rich Cline



Ballroom Dancer

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 78 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th August 2012

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Christian Bonke, Andreas Koefoed

Producer: Jakob Jonck

Starring: Vyacheslav 'Slavik' Kryklyvyy as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.