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Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Nichola Burley, Richard Winsor, Rachel McDowall
Director: Max Giwa, Dania Pasquini
Run time: 99 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
A brief synopsis of Streetdance goes like this…Carly has always wanted to dance. Now she does, with a street-dance “crew” and she’s happy. They are competing with the Best Street Dance Crew In England, and their leader (Carly’s boyfriend) just quit. Now SHE must lead them and they have to share rehearsal space with a BALLET company. The ballet people are stuffy and snotty and too cool for street dance. The street dancers are tough and hip and too cool for ballet. Will Carly be able to use BOTH ballet AND street dance to win the competition? Will she find love again with the BALLET boy?
And that’s it. There is little else going on in this movie. There’s the requisite I-just-found-out-the-guy-who-dumped-me-is-a-jerk scene, then the requisite dance-on-a-rooftop-scene where she ends up with the right guy, and the incredibly silly (but obviously necessary) scene where the ballet folk and the street dance folk dance at each other to show their mutual disdain.
So it’s a formula. The one that exists in every single dance movie ever made, and most singing and boxing and cycling movies as well. Will Carly get over her ex? Only if she sees him being a douche. Will she realize that her crew must do their own thing to succeed? Only if she has an epiphany. Will she manage to combine ballet with street dance in time for the big competition? Of course. Will the ballet dancers make it to the Big Competition in time? Of course they will.
Most of the 99 minute run time here is filler. And by filler, I mean dancing. Some hard British rap song pumps through the speakers, then some people flip in the air and pose aggressively, all during a series of jump cuts and changing camera angles and so forth. The movie was directed by a pair of music video veterans, and it shows. The dancing doesn’t interest me at all, and the filler is even more boring than the substance of this movie. I get it. They pretend to be thuggish and wear their hats sideways. Now DO something interesting.
Then there’s the wonderful Charlotte Rampling, who appears to have wandered in from a set next door and become lost in this film. She seems to be acting in another movie entirely – one that is GOOD. She plays the instructor of the ballet students, teaching them and molding them and helping them break out of their rigid little boxes with the help of…gasp…street dance! She fights with the benefactors and administration of the ballet school over this decision, and holds herself with dignity and class. In a movie absolutely devoid of both.
I will admit that, although I was bored out of my mind by the dancing and lulled into slumber by the acting and story, I WAS actually interested in seeing the final performance where Carly has managed to incorporate ballet into street dance and vice versa. It’s gonna be off the chain, yo! Or so I was led to believe. This was going to revolutionize street dancing forever, and be totally new and fascinating and…no. It just plain sucked. Even the one moment I actually anticipated in this film, the one that was kept under wraps so it could have a Big Reveal, was underwhelming at best.
The movie itself obviously doesn’t think so. Like many other movies about thugs and toughs and dancin’ (like the TRULY dreadful Steppin’), it feels that the Big Dance Finale is the high point, and stands on its own. And so it must end with the Big Dance Finale, and wrap up no loose ends whatsoever. Do the ballet dancers make it into the ballet school for which they are auditioning? Does Carly’s team win the competition? Does her lousy ex feel the sting of comeuppance? Then again, there are two more compelling questions I was asking – does anyone still care? And what was Charlotte Rampling thinking?