After being totally blown away by Moulin Rouge, I decided to watch Luhrmann's directorial debut, Strictly Ballroom. A very nice little picture, with some great Australian pictures. Luhrmann is an amazing talent, even if he can be a little over the top. I originally wrote this on June 14, 2002.
Baz Luhrmann's (Moulin Rouge) first directorial effort, Strictly Ballroom, is a perfectly nice little movie. The story of a Australian boy (Scott, played by Paul Mercurio ) raised as a ballroom dancer by his parents, rebelling against the strictures of the dance and desiring to add his own stamp. This upsets the status quo and gets everyone in a tizzy. He joins forces with a bit of an ugly duckling (Fran, played by Tara Morice) and dazzles the ballroom dancing world.
Luhrmann mixes comedy, dancing, sound and light in a nice froth, making for a very watchable movie. The over-the-top touches he employs in Moulin Rouge! only really appear in a wondeful flashback, where Scott finally finds out about his father's past history as a ballroom dancer rebel himself. Luhrmann signals his proclivity for reds, as it is the predominant color here, as in Moulin.
The DVD is pretty good, as it includes a documentary on ballroom dancing, and a commentary track by Luhrmann. Sometimes the color seems off, but with Luhrmann it can be hard to tell if he means it or not. Faces are tinted green or nearly washed out in red, etc. There is one breathtaking shot of Scott and Fran walking in the far background, with a deep blue sky, brown path and lush green grass all around them. Really shows up nice on the DVD.
All in all, a good rental, with some smiling moments, no real laugh out loud parts. Solid acting by the two leads, in their first movie.