Monday, 11 July 2005

Strictly Ballroom (1992) - ickleReview (TV)

Baz Luhrmann dancing romp, which starts off like a documentary about an Australian ballroom dancing contest and turns into a delightful feelgood comedy. The Antipodean Dirty Dancing, without the ponce and certainly without taking itself too seriously.

Luhrmann makes it visually arresting with his fast cross-cutting and set-piece lighting. The script is sharp and magnetic, with a predictable but nevertheless satisfying arc.

Paul Merurio plays Scott Hastings, a young dancer with high expectations, but who suffers from the same anti-establishment scorn which his father received for inventing his own steps. He loses his partner but gains another in the frumpy but sleeping beauty of the Spanish-blooded Fran (Tara Morice), whom he first dismisses as a beginner, but then grows to love. Together they take their daring routine to the big championships, but the dancesport big-wigs don't intend to make it easy for them.

Nugget: a great bit of fun and well worth listening to the advice (which you've no doubt heard) to see this latent gem, which I never bothered to catch on its release. Luhrmann directs with vigour and originality, which he later turned to Romeo + Juliet (but then bombed with in Moulin Rouge).

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