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The Company

If you love dance, you'll love Robert Altman's new film The Company. However, if you hate dance or don't quite care for it- you'll be bored out of your mind. I've been dancing since I was five and even my hand was itching for a fast forward button throughout the many scenes of the dance company's performances, which look like those ballet shows you see broadcasted on PBS late at night.

The standout performance in the film goes to Malcolm McDowell who plays the company's eccentric director Alberto Antonelli. Otherwise the movie plays like a documentary about dance with random actors thrown in for good measure. Neve Campbell (who also co-wrote and helped produce the movie) plays Ry, a ballerina on the verge of becoming a principle dancer and James Franco plays her love interest.

But do not be deceived, this is not about the characters- their lives are secondary to the dancing.

The bodies of the dancers are like works of art in and of themselves and, as in one particularly striking scene in which a dancer is suspended on stage with a cable, they seem to float effortlessly through the grueling choreography. Of course, these are not actors. The performers are indeed real as they are a part of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, which is the company on which the movie is based.

Altman gives you ethereal glimpses into the world of a dance company- the practices, the slight dramas, the politics and the passion for the art- through evanescent conversations and slivers of scenes. While the director's signature style is apparent in the filmmaking, this is not his best piece of work. Although The Company is truly about ballet, as compared to the crop of quasi-dance movies that sprung up last year that were about something else altogether, it about no more than that.