White Nights Reviews
The dancing is pretty great, for two dudes doing it, and Hines is really good at it and singing as well: something I never knew. But every time they break down in a dude dance, it reminded me of that hilarious Kevin Bacon dance in Footloose!!!
There's another side plot with a woman friend of the lead guy pleading for the Americans to help rescue her friend. There are two of them in particular, and they make they bumbling idiots for the most part. Glover is such a dummy in this. To be fair they make the Russians overly villainous.
Rossellini is quite good here in her first role, but Mirren seems so blah considering how awesome she can be in other films.
The song they play over the end credits, SAY YOU, SAY ME by Lionel Richie, won Best Song, but I still think there were at least six better songs that year.
Thanks in advance!
(1985) White Nights
The kind of movie that is adapted around it's two central characters of Mikhail Baryshnikov as Nicolai and Gregory Hines as Raymond similar to action films which involves a planned escape out of Stalin- like controlled Russia. Nicolai is a famous ballet dancer and somehow becomes trapped while flying over Russia, because he's a renown ballet dancer and is during the Cold War, the gov't somehow controls where to dance, and while there meets tap dancer Raymond who has his own problems but agrees to help and aid for an escape.
Almost like a semi-autobiography of actual ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov which the dancing can be graceful and emotionally felt upon watching it, and seeing Gregory Hines was a treat- one of his more memorable roles as a down and out tapper. Watching some of the dancing sequences coincide with politics in harsh communism Russia was somewhat of a learning experience. "Say you Say Me" was a hit song for Lionel Ritchie.
3 out of 4
I was hooked right from the beginning with an airline disaster returning Baryshnikov to Russia, but the story becomes more of a soap opera the longer it goes on. And much like soap operas, it's quite entertaining but this project should have been a lot more compelling. It's rather difficult to get over the basic premise; that a defected Russian dancer is forced to room with a defected American dancer, but I could accept that and get on with the rest of the film. The problem is that the rest of it is only marginally easier to swallow that that impractical set-up.
The two stars are surprisingly believable in their roles, strong enough in fact to carry the entire picture quite effortlessly. They naturally shine, however, in the dance umbers that are peppered into this preposterous Cold War plot. Watching them move is hypnotizing, and it's enough to forgive the weak plot that forces them unnaturally together. There's little other reason to see this.
The two women in the film, Helen Mirren and Isabella Rossellini, are merely there to react to things going on around them, and film director Jerzy Skolimowski is hilariously absurd as the Russian Colonel. "White Nights" is a fairly entertaining throwback to a bygone era in film, but it should have been so much more than that.
Quite a campy picture 25 years on.
The film itself is nicely done, although it would have benefitted from being 20-30 minutes shorter. Baryshnikov's dance sequence over the opening credits and his incredibly controlled dance spins in order to win a bet with Hines, are to be marvelled at and repeatedly enjoyed with the rewind button. Hines supports very well and you can see he marvels at Baryshnikov's dancing as well. The 2 of them are unlikely companions that work surprisingly well on screen. With the Cold War thankfully gone, this movie dates a bit, but there aren't many like it.