Though he began his career as an actor, director/writer/producer Baz Luhrmann found his flamboyant talent was better served behind the scenes. Born BazMark Luhrmann in a Sydney, Australia, suburb, Luhrmann returned to Sydney after a rural childhood to attend the National Institute of Dramatic Arts. Though he appeared with Judy Davis in the film Winter of Our Dreams (1982), Luhrmann redirected his artistic pursuits, creating the original version of what would become his future film debut, Strictly Ballroom (1992), for the stage in 1986. He continued to mount musical theater and opera productions throughout the 1980s and early ‘90s, including a 1950s-set version of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème in 1990. Working with longtime collaborators Craig Pearce and Catherine Martin, Luhrmann brought his vibrant sensibility to film with the cinematic version of Strictly Ballroom. Full of garish colors, exuberant dancing, and ironic yet sincere sentiment, the romantic fable made a splash at the Cannes… read more
Overacted because the director didn't set his beats correctly. What could have been an amazing and expansive exhibition of the effects of place on person, instead becomes a film at odds with itself. Following bridled characters on one escapade after another becomes exhaustive because they are not shown being receptive to their environment -only viewing, changing or corralling it- a fair assessment of western culture, but too heavy handed for the film's message. Crikey that got awkward.
Peculiar. Whilst the first hour or so acts as a decent Western adventure, a throwback of sorts to a bygone era, cracks slowly begin to show. A misplaced ‘borrowing’ of a theme song from a different kind of Oz, a schmaltzy and clichéd romance, unnecessary overuse of CGI to ‘beautify’ already impressive scenic settings, it slowly becomes a Hollywood-infested slog of a film that promised plenty but delivered little.