Take the Lead (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner12/04/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

This is never less than watchable but it’s shockingly cliched throughout and let down by a badly directed, disappointing climax.

What’s it all about?
Take the Lead is based on the true events behind Mad Hot Ballroom, except the film-makers have changed the children from pre-teens to high school kids. Antonio Banderas plays Pierre Dulaine, a dance teacher who volunteers to teach troubled detention kids at an inner city New York high school.

Unsurprisingly the kids (and Principal Alfre Woodard) laugh in his face. However, they’ve reckoned without Dulaine’s impressive dance teacher skill and it isn’t long before the whole class are tangoing like their lives depended on it. But will they be good enough for the upcoming ballroom competition?

The Good
To be fair, the acting is pretty decent. Banderas plays Dulaine as a softly-spoken and surprisingly subdued character but it really works. The kids are good too, fleshing out their characters with more personality than the cliche-laden script deserves.

There’s also strong support from Alfre Woodard, although she’s not given nearly enough to do. In addition, the dance sequences are energetic and exciting to watch and Dulaine’s tango with a stuck-up student is a definite highlight.

The Bad
There’s nothing inherently wrong with cliches per se – when used well, they can work brilliantly. The problem here is that, having set up a series of cliched plotlines, the film fails to give any of them the satisfying pay-off they deserve. The finale is both disappointing and badly directed, stretching credibility to the limit instead of allowing the dance moves to speak for themselves.

Worth seeing?
Take the Lead is never less than watchable thanks to its performances and some of the dance sequences, but you can’t help feeling that with a better script this could have been something really special.

Film Trailer

Take the Lead (12A)
Be the first to review Take the Lead...
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 12/12/2017 17:49

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films