2019 Film Reviews – 7: Strike A Pose [dir. Ester Gould & Reijer Zwaan; 2016]

The very premise of this documentary has ‘self-indulgent’ written all over it: find the dancers from Madonna’s game-changing 1990 Blond Ambition tour and see what they’ve been up to for the last twenty-five years. To put it bluntly: who cares? And I write this as someone with what could be called a more-than-passing interest in Ms Ciccone’s career. That said, there is no such thing as a dull subject, and Gould and Zwaan could certainly have used their movie as an opportunity to examine the effects of intense fame on people who were only ever going to be in the spotlight for a finite amount of time. To give them their due, the directors do touch on the issue – at which point the film is at its most interesting – but they also resort to considerable padding and excessive scenes of pointless emoting in order to stretch what should have been a brisk, fifty-minute affair to just-about-feature-length. And their attempt to argue that there’s some grand irony in the ‘revelation’ that the performers in a show celebrating truth and self-expression were carrying personal secrets is weak and ill-advised, to say the least. An unfocused piece of work, for committed voguers only.
Dariush

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