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Nijinsky

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Craig Butler
Although Nijinsky as a whole is not satisfying, portions of it are exceptional. Not surprisingly, these portions include the sequences in which dancing is a primary focus. With the wonderful George de la Pena holding forth in these sequences, supported by a very fine corps, the dances are stunning and exciting. de lan Pena deserves a great deal of credit for their success, as his technique and interpretations are simply marvelous to behold; but he must share credit with director Herbert Ross, who demonstrates once again that he is a master at filming ballet, a feat that is far more complicated than it may at first seem. The physical production is also quite lovely, with fine work from all departments. If de la Pena is perhaps not as fine a dramatic actor as he is a dancing actor, he still acquits himself well in the dialogue scenes and has a sure handle on his character. Even better is Alan Bates as his lover Diaghilev, adding a combination of power and nuance to his scenes that is quite effective. Leslie Browne is not ideal casting as Nijinsky's wife; her dance background serves her very well, but she doesn't have the correct temperament that the drama requires. Nijinsky runs into problems in general when it is away from the ballet stage; although it deserves points for portraying an honest homosexual relationship in 1980, it does so in a rather coy, indirect manner. In addition, the script eventually indulges in melodrama that undercuts its overall effectiveness. Still, Nijinsky is worth watching, if only for the graceful power of de la Pena in flight. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi
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