Sunday, 9 January 2011

Strictly Ballroom

UK Release: 16th October 1992
Watched on TV: Friday 7th January
Rating: PG
Runtime: 1hr 34 mins
Tagline: A life lived in fear... a life half lived. 
IMDb Plot Summary: Scott Hastings is a champion caliber ballroom dancer, but much to the chagrin of the Australian ballroom dance community, Scott believes in dancing "his own steps". Fran is a beginning dancer and a bit of an ugly duckling who has the audacity to ask to be Scott's partner after his unorthodox style causes his regular partner to dance out of his life. Together, these two misfits try to win the Australian Pan Pacific Championships and show the Ballroom Confederation that they are wrong when they say, "there are no new steps!”
A Quick Review: Having seen the other two films in Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain Trilogy - and instantly falling in love with them - I had always been eager to see Strictly Ballroom, Luhrmann’s debut feature, while also being slightly wary, seeing as William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge! are in my top 5 favourite films of all time. 
Thankfully I wasn’t too disappointed. 
In many ways it wasn’t hard to see why Strictly Ballroom is included in the ‘trilogy’. The lavish costumes, colour, detail, clever camera angles were all there (allowing for the difference in era). 
But I still don’t think I love it anywhere near as much as the other two, as one thing was lacking for me and that was the sharp characters and the cinematic feel that I always admire of Luhrmann. The film was a little stop-starty and unrealistic. Some of the characters were just one-dimensional cartoon stereotypes and I hate to say it, but the film had a stifling stench of cheese about it. 
That said, it was still enjoyable and I’m glad that Luhrmann grew and developed into the director that inspires me today. So if you want a feel-good romance with some impressive dancing thrown in then Strictly Ballroom is the one to watch... Dirty Dancing hasn’t got a patch on it.
Score: 7.5/10

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