This picture was made with the sole purpose of showing us dazzling choreography, but does little by way of effective storytelling or dialog.
Please understand: I give it any stars at all simply on account of the dancing, which is the picture's best feature. I also appreciate the writer and director's portrayal of dance as redemption, catharsis and cure. What was lost on me, however, was the cheesiness of the dialog, the cliché plot devices (girl runs away from rapist stepfather only to be raped near the end of a movie in a heart- wrenching and disturbingly stylized gang-bang), and the contrived situations laid out for the characters.
Consider the rape scene at the end. Despite Rachel's screams for help, she goes unheard because the innkeeper is sawing wood and his girlfriend is listening to music on her walk- man. So let me get this straight, we're shown why they couldn't hear her screams, but then they manage, in spite of their obstructions, to hear her anyway? I mean, anyone could have believed a delayed reaction, why bother showing us unnecessary, if unbelievable obstacles that would have prevented the innkeeper and his gal from reacting immediately? They had to run a couple of minutes to get there anyway (they're way out in the boonies), why bother explaining that they couldn't get there right away?
And then there's the cringe-worthy dialog. Not only are most of the lines delivered in an amateurish manner, but what the actors are given to say is nothing more than empty sentiment or none-too-subtle foreshadowing to move the plot along.
And speaking of the plot: it seemed like each story element was fished out of different barrels, and upon putting them together, the writer took great pains to try to weave them together even if they didn't fit. Take, for example, the Danielle Hubbard character. At the beginning of the movie, she gets out of jail for unknown reasons. We find out, later, that she landed in jail because she injured a man who had just beaten the living crap out of some poor woman. His injuries are accidental. Why the Danielle Hubbard character ends up going to jail to begin with is kind of a mystery, considering she was clearly defending the victim. Plus, the man she injures ends up in a wheelchair, but is clearly obsessed with her after the incident, seeing her as his road to penitence and redemption. Why this man would not have gotten her out of jail sooner is also a head-scratcher. Near the end of the movie, the Danielle Hubbard character ends up in jail again. This time, it's because when she pushes one of the rapists to the side in an attempt to save Rachel, he accidentally lands gut-first on the pointed end of his swiss army knife. I guess that means she killed him, which is why she's in jail. I only wish the director had had the foresight to at least kill this character with a bigger, more threatening knife. I have a hard time imagining that he absolutely could not recover from his tiny wound. Heck, I'm sure the innkeeper could have stitched him up!
Another story element that was never fully explained is why the Clara Furey character, Rachel, ever ended up hanging out so close to the jail where Danielle Hubbard's character was locked up. I mean, if the story had to go to such trouble to set up an unlikely encounter between two characters, doesn't it stand to reason that the story should have tried to figure out a simpler route for the two to meet?
As for the portrayal of Rachel, I can't help but admire Clara Furey's passionate role-play, but it seemed to always remain at the same level. Rachel is understandably full of rage, but it seems to be the same rage, all the time, at the same volume and tone.
I've also noted, based on other comments, that some of the dialog's awkwardness does not seem to come across to anglophone audiences, but francophone audiences seem to agree.
To sum up, I see no reason to recommend this movie, other than to satisfy the same kind of strange fascination that ill- reputed movies, such as Showgirls, tend to feed.
Hey, it's your time. Do with it what you will...