Smoove moves

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

re­mem­ber to in­sert a late foot­note whereby Ash walks out on the crew and Latin babe Eva (Sofia Boutella) be­fore he comes to his senses.

The scant­ily sketched con­tent, oddly, turns out to be the movie’s great­est as­set. This is a dance film with – wait for it – ac­tual danc­ing. Fast cuts and cheat shots are out as two sets of chore­og­ra­phers (Amer­i­cans Rich + Tone Talauega and Latin spe­cial­ists Maykel Fonts + Sharna Burgess) com­mit some of the best moves of the decade to cel­lu­loid. The 3D adds a fun gloss – here come the float­ing feathers! – to ex­quis­ite breaks.

But will it be enough to beat The Surge ( Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent alumni Flaw­less) in the fa­mous Paris, erm, coli­seum? It’s on. YOU’RE BOUND to think dif­fer­ently about global warm­ing if you live on the Mal­dives. The most per­sua­sive sec­tions of this well-mean­ing – if some­what un­der­pow­ered – doc­u­men­tary com­prise aerial shots of those beau­ti­ful is­lands. The low-ly­ing land­masses seem like mild blis­ters swelling apolo­get­i­cally on the In­dian Ocean’s azure flesh. The slight­est rise in sea lev­els is sure to bring catas­tro­phe.

In 2008, the is­land na­tion, emerg­ing from years of to­tal­i­tar­ian rule, elected Mo­hamed Nasheed as its pres­i­dent. Ar­tic­u­late, charm­ing, firm with­out be­ing stri­dent, the English-ed­u­cated politi­cian looked to be the right man at the right time.

Whereas the world’s larger na­tions could (for now) pre­tend that global warm­ing was some­thing that hap­pened to other plan­ets, Pres­i­dent Nasheed im­me­di­ately re­alised that, be­fore too long, cli­mate change would be the only is­sue that mat­tered to his com­pa­tri­ots. The film fol­lows our hero as he pre­pares for the Copen­hagen Cli­mate Sum­mit in 2009.

The Is­land Pres­i­dent has in­ter­est­ing things to say about the pol­i­tics of con­tem­po­rary ecol­ogy. Nasheed’s ad­vi­sors re­sist the de­mon­i­sa­tion of the US (more ac­com­mo­dat­ing than we’ve been led to be­lieve, ap­par­ently), but ex­press in­creas­ing dis­may at the in­tran­si­gence of the Chi­nese. Vi­tal con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen dur­ing furtive breaks for cig­a­rettes.

Right-think­ing peo­ple will ap­plaud the sen­ti­ments be­hind the doc­u­men­tary. But The Is­land Pres­i­dent does make all its points in the first 60 min­utes and – though per­haps jus­ti­fied in this case – ha­giog­ra­phy num­bers among the least en­ter­tain­ing of cin­e­matic gen­res. More­over, some­body should have ex­plained that (I’m tak­ing an ed­u­cated guess here), even if a caring Ra­dio­head grant free ac­cess to their en­tire back cat­a­logue, you are not com­pelled to play the band’s mu­sic be­neath ev­ery sec­ond scene.

Those whinges noted, The Is­land Pres­i­dent should be com­mended for of­fer­ing a stark re­minder that, while the world’s great na­tions turned their at­ten­tions to eco­nom­ics, the wa­ters con­tin­ued to rise.

Sadly, Nasheed is cur­rently no longer in a po­si­tion to man the dykes. A grim end-ti­tle re­veals that he was forced from of­fice while the film was in post-pro­duc­tion.

Sofia and Falk show what they got in Streetdance 2

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