Thursday, December 4, 2008

Film Review: FLASHDANCE (1983, Adrian Lyne)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 95 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri (who never really went anywhere else except for THE HIDDEN with Clu Gulager), Joe Eszterhas (co-writing here), Joe "Bean" Esposito with his smash hit "Lady Lady Lady," Giorgio Moroder, Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, Laura Branigan, Irene Cara, Karen Kamon, Michael Sembello (and his seminal song "Maniac," Donna Summer, and Shandi.
Tag-line: "Something happens when she hears the's her freedom. It's her fire. It's her life."
Best one-liner(s): "I'll bring him a doggy bag if you'll have dinner with me." "I told you, I don't think it's a good idea to go out with the boss." "Okay. Have it your way. You're fired. I'll pick you up tomorrow at eight."

"Just a steel town girl on a Saturday night, lookin' for the fight of her the real-time world no one sees her at all, they all say she's cra-ay-zy..." This tale of a high-steppin', leg-warmer wearin' welder who aspires to something greater will dance its way into your heart, leave you limp with excitement, and then when you're sitting there- all sweaty and out of breath- it's gonna pour a bucket of water all over you, just because it can.

I haven't seen the camera linger on pulsating, perspiring, toned bodies this much since PERFECT. Or at least since RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. I think the thing I love the most is the fact that these blue-collar, Budweiser-swiggin' factory Joes congregate nightly at a club with acts that combine neo-avant-garde dance, makeup and glitter that belong on Klaus Nomi,

and costumes straight from 80's Milan Fashion Week (watch for inappropriate use of an umpire's mask during "Manhunt"),

which, of course, all go really well with beer nuts and men who'd rather be committing hate crimes.

The film is produced by action/adventure legend Jerry Bruckheimer and helmed by director Adrian Lyne (9 1/2 WEEKS, FOXES), who really knows how to hammer out a solid relationship drama. The end result is a very likable movie with likable leads that has enough ridiculous dance scenes to cement its mainstream AND cult statuses. This of course all leads to an amazing denouement where Jennifer Beals gets to strut her stuff before the stodgy board of an elite ballet academy. Needless to say, she pulls out some moves that, though they may induce spit-takes in the viewer, get those pencil-necked admissions reps' toes a-tappin.' Would anyone like to place bets on whether or not it ends on a freeze frame? What a feeling, indeed.

-Sean Gill

COMING SOON: Two addenda to this review, analyzing the postmodern reverberations FLASHDANCE caused with Lucio Fulci's 1984 MURDERROCK and then David A. Prior's 1986 KILLER WORKOUT.


Anonymous said...

The movie is essentially a series of videos -- but what videos! And Jennifer Beals is gorgeous.

Sean Gill said...


Thanks for stopping by. And indeed– on both counts!