MOVIE REVIEW | Flashdance (1983)

In a  nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “No strip club could let their dancers perform this kind of indulgent wankery, and remain in business.”Flash 1
“When you give up your dream, you die.”

Why do some movies capture the zeitgeist? There’s no rhyme or reason to what ingredients are needed for a movie to become an icon and stay in the public consciousness for decades. A movie like Gone With the Wind has an epic story and amazing performances, but so do thousands of other, long forgotten movies. The Wizard of Oz was a technical marvel when it came out, but its legacy has long outlived its special effects novelty. And Flashdance has a clichéd plot, average acting and not much else going for it. Yet, Flashdance is a movie that I have been aware of my entire life, with images, songs and sequences that I can recognize in an instant without ever having seen the movie. Until now. Did watching Flashdance, more than 30 years after its release, do anything to explain why this movie is still so instantly recognisable more than 30 years after its release?

Working in a steel plant by day, and working at what looks like the world’s most boring strip club at night, Alex (Jennifer Beals) is street smart, independent and tough as nails. And while she may not have any formal training, all she wants is to become a dancer. In her night job, she performs elaborate dance performance pieces. At home, she rocks out with dancing that consists mainly of running on the spot and whipping sweat out of her hair.   But for all her ballsy confidence, Alex is still too insecure to attend an audition for prestigious dance school. She’s willing to take on the local small time hoods, but scared to go up against the prissy ballerinas with a lifetime of dance classes.

One night, performing one of her elaborate dances at the strip club, Alex captures the eye of Nick (Michael Noun), the owner of the steel mill where she works. Initially determined not to shit where she eats, Nick eventually wins Alex over and they become a happy couple. But when Nick tires to help Alex get a dance audition, the working class chip on her shoulder means she shows only resentment, not gratitude.
Flash 2
Why is Flashdance still so instantly recognisable more than 30 years after its release? I’m still not sure. Beals is cute and charming in the lead role, but pretty much everyone else around her is nothing short of terrible. There are a couple of cool songs (including one Oscar winner) and the dance scenes are OK, but they get old, fast.

And really, no strip club could let their dancers perform this kind of indulgent wankery, and remain in business. When Alex resorts to something that could only be described as strobe light kabuki, all I could wonder was, why haven’t all of the patrons left?

Directed By – Adrian Lyne
Written By – Thomas Hedley Jr., Joe Eszterhas

Other Opinions Are Available. What did these people have to say about Flashdance?
Roger Ebert
The New York Times
Alex’s 10 Word Movie Reviews

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