16 Jul 2022
J. Arcane, Paul Erskine
J. Arcane, Paul Erskine
Yves Mathieu East, Carol Weakland, Nixon Frederick
A troubled young man with a passion for dancing struggles to find his place in the world.
Theo (East) is young African American who is a homosexual and dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Unfortunately, he is having a hard time succeeding at that and he must find a way to come to terms with his past and find out who he is and what he really wants before he can move on with his life.
This drama focuses on the life of an individual who appears to have reached a point where he has hit a brick wall and does not know how to get his life back on track. The story is told through his perspective and the audience follows him as he walks through New York City, finds work in a coffee shop, spends time with acquaintances, experiences romance and tries to figure out what to do with himself. The screenplay explores his struggles and brief flashbacks reveal the troubled relationship he had with his father. The narrative does not put a lot of effort into showing his attempts to begin a dancing career, but instead concentrates more into pointing out how much he loves that activity and how he attempts to deal with his past and be a decent person.
What mostly stands out are the multiple scenes where Theo begins dancing by himself, accompanied by music and lyrics, in a way turning the movie into a musical. These beautiful scenes contain wonderful choreography and highlight his passion for dancing and signify his temporary escape from reality, much like the main character in Dancer in the Dark proceeds to sing in order to escape from her harsh life.
There are lengthy periods of time with no dialogue, many of which include the dance scenes and montages. Arcane also worked on the editing and does a great job with the dancing parts and montages, utilising superimposition to great effect.
As the main subject of the feature, East delivers a dramatic performance as a self-taught wannabe dancer with personal issues. He comes across as a bit socially awkward, shy and having difficulties expressing himself.
Arcane and Erskine do a great job as directors and create magnificent shots that capture the splendour of New York City. The soundtrack consists of various wonderful songs that add significant value to the movie.
The pace feels a bit slow, which is not necessarily a bad thing as this film is a character study and primarily aims to explore a person's life, who they are, rather than focusing on the narrative. Nevertheless, the movie generally does seem overlong.
This movie is about self-discovery, inner struggles and having a passion. The narrative might be tedious to some, however it is a decent drama that reveals the beauty of dancing and the importance of people realising who they are and what their purpose in life is.