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The Company (2003)

The Company - Das Ensemble

Directed by:

Robert Altman

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 112 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: Germany, United States

Often when I’m not entirely sure whether or not to recommend a film, I just ask myself whether or not I’d be willing to sit through it again. In the case of Robert Altman’s pretentious and plot-free yawn-fest ‘The Company’, I’m a bit scared to ask in case I end up punching myself in the face for even daring to consider it. Watch this again? I’d rather pour cement into my DVD player than even risk it.

Filmed as a sort of mockumentary, it’s the tale of a ballet company, the private lives of a clutch of its members, and their attempts to put on a big end-of-film show. Only it’s not actually a “tale” at all, because NOTHING HAPPENS! It makes no comment on what’s being filmed, and gives no reason for showing us it. The whole thing is just an endless loop of dancers practicing, overly-long on-stage routines, and random snap-shots of their personal lives, shown over and over again without context or event.

It’s a bit like watching home video footage which, though professionally edited, could never be of any remote interest to anyone other than those who are actually involved. And then, after nigh-on two hours of this self-engrossed nothingness, it just comes to an end. What a complete and utter waste of time.

As much as I’d like to, I can’t put all of the blame for ‘The Company’ onto the shoulders of Robert Altman. The person truly responsible is Scream queen Neve Campbell. Not only does she play one of the lead dancers, but she came up with this atrocious idea, wrote the story, convinced Altman to plonk his wildly over-rated posterior in the director’s chair, and co-produced the final product.

Credit where it’s due, Campbell’s clearly a well-trained ballet dancer and she never looks out of place prancing around the screen in her various leotards. But seriously, are lengthy dance sequences really in the spirit of what the medium of film is all about? I mean, I’ve got nothing at all against ballet, but if I wanted to watch it I’d buy myself tickets for a production and go watch it live.

It's Got: Men in tights.

It Needs: A point.

DVD Extras Co-commentary from Altman and Campbell, ‘The Passion of the Dance’ featurette, adancers’ show-off showcase, and a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

The Red Shoes

Summary

Even the Nolan Sisters would struggle to feel “in the mood for dancing” after watching this soul-sappingly bad Neve Campbell vanity project.

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