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All Critics (43)
| Top Critics (16)
| Fresh (13)
| Rotten (30)
| DVD (1)
There would seem to be only one thing that the act of dancing cannot free the characters in Desert Dancer from, and that's the movie they're in.
Desert Dancer strays too frequently into melodrama to have much sticking power.
In his feature film debut, director Richard Raymond keeps the story moving despite some dramatic cliches.
Its depiction of the internal tensions in Iranian politics and culture is not what you'd call super-nuanced, but it is sympathetic to Iran as an entity.
Reece Ritchie brings heart to the lead role, particularly in the decisive solo performance that caps the film. But that sequence is as expressive and alive as the rest of the supposedly movement-loving drama is static.
"Desert Dancer" explores fascinating aspects of present-day Iran but suffers mightily from simplistic and sentimental tendencies.
Bogged down by trying to be two very separate things and dragging its plot for a bit more time than it should have. A film with a lot of potential, but unfortunately underwhelming.
We didn't need a pseudo-Persian Footloose to imagine dance as a means of political resistance, but surely there's no harm in drawing inspiration from [Andrew] Ghaffarian's bravely creative life.
With robotic depictions of Iran's 'morality police', the political subtext is strictly one-dimensional. But with ace choreographer Akram Khan on board, the dancing is powerful.
Raymond might sometimes hit his beats too hard but he does keep his eye on the bigger picture.
Characters' brief moments of freedom are stirringly depicted in Richard Raymond's based-on-fact bio-picture, Desert Dancer.
A lifeless, contrived and remarkably unengaging rallying cry for freedom of expression and self-fulfilment in the face of adversity.
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