19 June 2009 | changmoh
Not Outstanding But Watchable
Don't be put off by the fact that this movie is adapted from a manga (comic book) written by Masahito Soda. On the other hand, don't expect too much of it either. The manga is reportedly about a young dancer's quest to combine ballet and breakdance - but you are not going to be floored by its dance moves, especially if you are a dance enthusiast yourself.
As children, Subaru and her twin brother Kazuma share a dream of dancing ballet together. This is not to be as Kazuma dies of a hereditary disease that has also killed their mother. Subaru, however, is determined to pursue that dream alone - and she sneaks into a cabaret to watch the dancers.
Subaru's (Meisa Kuroki) enthusiasm is noticed by cabaret club owner and retired ballerina Madam Isuzu (Kaori Momoi) who trains and encourages her to dance. Meanwhile, she also takes lessons from the mother of her classmate Mana (Sano Miku) and even gets a nudge or two from a friend named Liz Park (Korean actress Ara) who is also involved in the world of break-dancing.
With so much going her way, Subaru nevertheless has obstacles: her demons, her health and a father who wants her to go to college. The crunch comes when Subaru has to audition in Shanghai, China, for a student scholarship...
You don't have to be familiar with the ballet world to realize that the story is pure hokum! In real life, no one is going out of their way to get anyone to dance professionally and compete against oneself. Even in the name of art or to mitigate boredom! However, director Lee Chi Ngai, who also wrote the screenplay, seems adept at warming up to the audience despite the wooden performance of lead star Kuroki. Indeed, Kuroki may look sexy and alluring but there is no chemistry whatsoever between her and her co-stars.
Among the cast, Ara is the most outstanding and easily steals the show from Kuroki. So does Momoi at various scenes. The cinematography by Takuro Ishizaka is first class, though. On the whole, Subaru is young and sweet, and only 17, but she's no Dancing Queen!