The Company (2003) torrent download

The Company

2003

Drama / Music / Romance

6.3

Synopsis

An inside look at the world of ballet. With the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Altman follows the stories of the dancers, whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close, as they cope with the demands of a life in the ballet. Campbell plays a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer at a fictional Chicago troupe, with McDowell the company's co-founder and artistic director, considered one of America's most exciting choreographers. Franco plays Campbell's boyfriend and one of the few characters not involved in the world of dance.

Director

Robert Altman

Cast

Neve Campbell
as Loretta 'Ry' Ryan
Malcolm McDowell
as Alberto Antonelli
William Dick
as Edouard

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Euphorbia 7 /10

A Dance of a Movie about Dance

The DVD extras with some movies make the film seem better than it did just watching it. "The Company" is a good example.

I'd wondered, briefly, why star Neve Campbell also got producer credit. The DVD 'making of' documentary explains that the whole project was her idea; she'd been a dancer long before she took up acting, and wanted to combine the two. She chose Altman to direct, because of his skill at portraying relations and interactions among people in groups.

Altman did a fine job depicting dance, both rehearsals and performances. Campbell showed she can still dance. Malcolm McDowell gave a great performance as the acerbic company director. The Joffrey dancers were brilliant. Altman has created a dazzling cinematic album of what the world of dance is like at the beginning of the 21st century.

But the story arc was weak. This was no accident. In a recent (October 2004) interview, Altman said:

Question: "Why do you think you're drawn to stories about big groups of people sharing the same space? Did it have anything to do with growing up in such a large, close-knit family?"

Robert Altman: "Possibly. I don't know. That's a little too cerebral for me. I'm not much interested in stories anyway. I'm more interested in reactive behavior."

That sums up "The Company" very nicely. The movie is a montage of scenes of "reactive behavior" among realistic characters, and in this it is more like real life than a more structured story would have been.

Of course there is some story structure here, involving the creation of a new dance. This story is engaging, because the outside choreographer is a fey flake, and dance disaster seems foredoomed. But the dancers, being good soldiers, follow his orders diligently. And despite all expectations, at least all of my expectations, their climactic performance is superb.

But this story is not central to the movie. Again like life, it unfolds amidst all sorts of other organizational and interpersonal drama.

And for this reason the movie left me unsatisfied. Part of what I look for in movies, and in books, is a story arc: a beginning, a middle, and an end. I look for this precisely because life is rarely that neat. Many directors deliver this arc (and many more try to, and fail). Robert Altman chose not to try. He is free to do that, and I am free to rate this movie 7/10.

Reviewed by noralee N/A

So Everything's Not So Beautiful at the Ballet After All

"The Company" is a lovely commercial for the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago (for New Yorkers this is in fact the same modern ballet company that used to be based at City Center but left the competitive dance fund raising environment here to have the stage to itself in Chicago).

A labor of love for producer/story writer/star/former dancer Neve Campbell, she was determined to make the first film about a whole company, not just using the dance world for a backdrop of individual melodrama, and with long passages of actual performances. So she brought in the primo director of ensembles, Robert Altman. But clearly she made compromises to get the film made that put his creativity as a director in a straight jacket and only lets his trademark talents fleetingly shine through.

The key was getting the Joffrey's cooperation and I can only imagine the tough negotiations that resulted in this pretty much being a whitewash of the ballet world, or of any creative endeavor, in sharp contrast to the behind-the-scenes reality shows "Project Greenlight" on HBO or "The Fire Within" about Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai" that was on Bravo. I surmise a long list of thou shalt not's that appear to include items such as:

-- no views of the non-artistic administrators, board, or fund raisers (there's a passing exhortation to a flashy choreographer Robet Desrosiers to stay within the budget, but he gets the complicated costumes and sets he wants anyway);

-- no homosexual relationships (there's a passing reference to the dancers AIDS has taken including "Bob", which cognoscenti have to know refers to the company's founder Robert Jeffrey, and Malcolm McDowall as the egotistical artistic director "Alberto Antonelli," a stand-in presumably for current company director Gerald Arpino, urges fellow Italian-American men not to make their boys, like he had to, "hide their ballet shoes");

-- no eating disorders (we do twice hear "Mr. A," half-jokingly, urge the company to eat salads and vegetables and there's one fast, quiet exchange in passing that I think was about diet pills);

-- blame dancers' problems on dysfunctional parents and mentors, recalling that vivid song from "A Chorus Line" - "Everything was beautiful at the ballet" as dancers seek to escape messy situations through temporary perfect beauty.

Altman does get to assert his artistic priorities in a few ways. He effectively seizes on the ageism in dance, showing that it's not just the tyranny of aging bodies, as would affect any athlete, but that dancers with experience speak up for themselves and are more difficult to control in a viciously autocratic environment than ambitious, financially desperate, and, literally, pliable young dancers.

It's also the first time I've seen a camera expose the swarm of acolyte assistants to the director, revealing them as ex-dancers whom "Mr. A" still dismissively calls "babies" and who resent the new stars even as they dance vicariously through them.

The other beautiful Altman touch is when the significant character developments take place not center stage in a crowd but through a look or line happening way in the corner of the screen, like the expression on James Franco, as Cambell's chef beau, when she avoids introducing him to her family amidst a rush of congratulators.

But visually and musically the Joffrey is a wonderful choice, as the choreographers represented range from Arpino to Alwin Nikolais to Laura Dean and MOMIX. A centerpiece danced by Campbell is a sexy Lar Lubovitch pas de deux to the signature song "My Funny Valentine" which is used as a leitmotif, for reasons that still seem murky to me after hearing Altman explain why on "Charlie Rose," throughout the film in versions also by Elvis Costello, Chet Baker, and the Kronos Quartet. The music ranges from classical to jazz to the ethereal pop of Julee Cruise, Mark O'Connor's in-between "Appalachia Waltz", and the lovely score by Van Dyke Parks.

Reviewed by ciocio-2 10 /10

Wonderful, engrossing movie, with much authenticity

THE COMPANY shows several slices of lives (that of the company, and those of various other characters) over a period of a few months or so. So many things happen during that time: large, small, hugely significant, totally mundane, sad, frustrating, thrilling, indifferent. Through it all, there is so much beauty, emotion and human reality. There is also a LOT of wonderful dance, and fascinating, very authentic, glimpses at preparation for, and creation of, real professional ballet performances.

Anyone needing a continuous, linear, 'a, to b, to climax and neat ending' plot will not find that here. The movie has its own rhythms, and was completely engrossing throughout for me, as well as entertaining. I love traditional, straightforwardly plotted movies (good ones, that is, of which there are many), but this movie is its very own animal, and it's wonderful. It is absolutely the most honest, true-to-real-life movie (that I've seen, anyway) ever made about the life, work and culture of a professional ballet company (not that they are all alike, but there is much that is universal) and some of the people (friends, family, audience members, etc.) who interact with it at times. And, what a treat to have a 'ballet movie' with authentic, good-to-excellent professional dancers in realistic stage performances. (CENTER STAGE was mostly sickeningly ridiculous, as was its 2008 sequel, to an even greater degree) and the audition scenes in SAVE THE LAST DANCE were EMBARRASSINGLY bad--they even misspelled Juilliard--oy!)

Always, audience members need to open themselves up, and try to experience a movie (or any piece of art/entertainment) on its own terms. You may like it or not, think it succeeds or not. But you don't go to TERMINATOR 3 expecting it to operate like an intimate, quiet, nuanced character study, and then condemn it because it didn't meet those expectations. With this movie, you need to understand and accept that you'll be seeing assorted moments, just various pieces and details of lives, and let go of the idea that they'll form into a finite "story" (shouldn't be too hard for Altman fans). For me, the pieces were fascinating enough to make the whole extremely rewarding and beautiful.

By the way, I did find myself caring very much about the characters in THE COMPANY, although differently than I might about the characters in a more traditionally-plotted movie. The characterizations are very real, not "actor-ish," from those who *are* actual actors, as well as those who are not. So many beautiful sequences, but one that really struck me as I watched was as Ry (Campbell's character) arrives home late, after an exciting, triumphant night, prepares for bed, and begins to cry. This sequence is alternated with scenes of one of the male dancers alone in a studio, listening to music, moving to it, trying to begin choreographing a dance. So true to life, and moving.

This is really a wonderful movie, and I hope there are enough people around who appreciate and enjoy this kind of thing, for more such movies to be made. Kudos to Mr. Altman, Ms. Campbell, and all the others involved.

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