Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Ralph Fiennes & David Hare's excellent bio-pic of Rudolf Nureyev, THE WHITE CROW, opens

What a fine and fascinating entertainment, as well as one of the better bio-pics of recent times, is THE WHITE CROW -- the very welcome collaboration between director/co-star Ralph Fiennes, screenwriter David Hare, and the very impressive newcomer actor/dancer taking the title role, Oleg Ivenko, who plays the young adult Rudolf Nureyev.

What these three have given us is a portrait of Nureyev that seems nuanced, detailed and believable factually, psychologically and especially emotionally.

Fiennes (shown at right) and Hare go back and forth in time near constantly, and this works surprisingly well, TrustMovies thinks, because the pair concentrates less on connecting the specific what-happened-and-why dots than on the emotions these events raise in both the child and the young adult Nureyev. Thus we are consistently placed within both the heart and mind of the character, and this helps us understand the talented, gorgeous and highly self-centered man at the core of this film.

Mr. Ivenko, below, handles both the dance and the acting with aplomb. Perhaps Fiennes understood how to capture and make best use

of this young man's talents -- which in so many ways mirror those of Nureyev -- without asking him to do too much. In fact, Ivenko's is a paired-down performance -- he is most often shown simply "thinking" -- relying in good part of his handsome face, terrific body and dance skill to bring to life the international ballet idol of the 1960s and 70s. It works.

Aside from the childhood flashbacks, The White Crow concentrates on Nureyev's ballet training, particularly that under the tutelage of his chosen teacher, Pushkin (played with great restraint and a fine undercurrent by Fiennes, above, right), mixed consistently with his traveling in the Russian troupe to Paris, where he first became rightly famous.

There he meets and bonds with the young woman, Clara Saint (Adèle Exarchopoulos, above, right) and the French dancer/choreographer Pierre Lacotte (Raphaël Personnaz, below, right), both of whom prove instrumental in the Parisian life of our dancer, as well as in the choice he must finally make.

Thanks to the ever-invasive Russian officials assigned to chaperone/guard the dance troupe, our narcissistic hero champs harder at his bit until the exceedingly suspenseful climax of this first-rate film, which -- if the details of the finale are maybe not completely as-they-were -- can be forgiven because of the filmmakers' skillful handling of this scene.

Those of us old enough to remember and appreciate Nureyev's talent and beauty -- his famous bisexuality is clearly shown here, too -- will probably revel in how closely Ivenko achieves all this, while younger audiences will at least be given a good taste of what this dancer/icon was all about.

The movie's dance scenes (as above and below), though not so very many, are plenty good enough to convince us of why this then-unknown dancer rose so quickly and permanently to fame. Mr. Hare's screenplay, by the way, is so appropriate and smart that you are mostly unaware of it as the film rolls along.

From Sony Pictures Classics and running a rich and not-a-moment-too-long 127 minutes, The White Crow opened on the coasts last month and is now expanding nationwide. Here in South Florida, it begins its run this Friday, May 10, and will play the Miami area at the AMC Aventura 24, Regal's South Beach 18, and the Coral Gables Art Cinema; in Fort Lauderdale at the Classic Gateway 4; in Davie at the Cinemark Paradise 24; in Boynton Beach at the Cinemark 14; in Boca Raton at the Regal Shadowood and the Cinemark Palace; and at the Movies of Delray and the Movies of Lake Worth. Wherever you live across the country, click here and then click on GET TICKETS (badly designed but to be found hidden in Ivenko's forehead) to view the theaters nearest you.


David said...

Saw this in DC. Terrific!!

TrustMovies said...

Thanks for commenting, David. Always great to hear from someone I know -- and love! So glad you appreciated this fine film.