Thursday, 11 November 2010

Dancer in the Dark Review...

Dancer in the Dark is a Danish musical drama film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk, in 2000. The film follows 'Selma, a Czechoslovakian immigrant, who is also a single mother working in a factory in rural America. Her salvation is her passion for music, specifically, the all-singing, all-dancing numbers found in classic Hollywood musicals. Selma harbors a sad secret though, she is losing her eyesight and her son Gene stands to suffer the same fate if she can't put away enough money to secure him an operation. When a desperate neighbor falsely accuses Selma of stealing his savings, the drama of her life escalates to a tragic finale.'

Dancer in the Dark has a really strong middle and ending, in which the audience finds themselves emotionally attached to Selma. However, it's the beginning, i feel, that lets this film down. I found that too many characters were introduced at the early stages of the film and this made it a struggle to connect with the protagonist at this stage. Despite this slightly uneventful and uninteresting beginning, the middle really compensates for this, as we find ourselves delving more and more into Selma's optimism in her troubled life. Part of the reason we feel and associate with this character is because of her secludedness from the rest of the world. Dancer in the Dark plays cleverly with the conventions of classic musicals, but twisting it with an exhaggerated plot of real life problems and occurances. In this way, the film becomes a dark musical, as the audience watches Selma push all her problems to one side with the placement happy and upbeat musical scenes added in throughout the story. The ending is strong and powerful, leaving its audience devastated as the music builds and prolongs itself until you least expect her hanging, where the music is cut so precisely that the scene works perfectly in affecting its audience emotionally. Dancer in the Dark is another powerful film, that will build up the tension and hit you where it hurts, emotionally.

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