The Company (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/05/2004

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

Light on plot but heavy on impressive ballet sequences, this is Robert Altman on familiar, if slightly dull form.

It has to be said – if you don’t like ballet then you might as well stop reading now, because you probably won’t enjoy The Company: there’s hardly any plot to speak of and the characters aren’t very interesting or engaging.

However, several of the ballet sequences are extremely impressive and at the very least you’ll see Neve ‘Scream 1-3’ Campbell in a whole new light.

Campbell Plays Huge Part In Film’s Realisation

In fact, Campbell played a huge part in bringing the film to the screen in the first place – she serves as co-producer and receives a story credit, as well as taking the ‘lead’ role. The press notes reveal that it had long been her dream to be a professional ballerina and she trained for almost two years before shooting began. To give her credit, it paid off, as she performs beautifully in some of the ballet sequences, particularly the My Funny Valentine number.

There is no real plot – the film simply follows various members of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago both on and off stage, with Altman’s trademarked overlapping dialogue very much to the fore.

The main story thread involves Ry (Neve Campbell) and her gradual progression to lead dancer, as well as her tentative relationship with a young chef (James Franco).

In addition there are several scenes involving the slightly weird ‘Mr A’ (Malcolm McDowell), the head of the ballet, but none of these really go anywhere. In fact, plot-twist-wise, about the most exciting thing that happens is when someone snaps a tendon.

Some Terrific Sequences

That said, there are some terrific sequences – in particular a spell-binding duet that is performed outdoors during a horrendous thunderstorm.

Other highlights include: the opening, vaguely futuristic number in which impressive things are done with ribbons; and the bonkers ‘Blue Snake’ number involving a snake head and some pointy hats. The soundtrack is also very good and features several different versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s My Funny Valentine.

As Altman-esque ensemble dramas go, then, The Company isn’t anywhere near as good as Nashville, Gosford Park or even H.E.A.L.T.H, though it’s still a lot better than the execrable Pret A Porter.

In short, the main reasons to see the film are the impressive ballet numbers, and Neve Campbell’s equally astonishing performance, though ultimately it’s more a film for ballet fans than Altman fans.

Film Trailer

The Company (12A)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 07:38

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