Perhaps The White Crow’s most brilliantly imagined element is its complete understanding of who Nureyev was

The White Crow feels as if it should be named the epitome of pretentious film making. With well-known thespian Ralph Fiennes turning his hand to directing at the films heart, the feature flicks between Soviet ballet drama and cold war thriller, as it slowly trawls through the early life of dancer Rudolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko) and his draw to the western world, including both Paris and London.

Yet the lengths Fiennes has moved to in order for The White Crow to reach the cultural peak it hits, is done a disservice by labelling it pretentious. Learning Russian, to both direct and act, fully immersing himself in the culture of the situation, allows for the film’s authenticity to rival that of any other production. The eventual quality of piece does not override Fiennes efforts, and that shines through, no matter how the final product is actually imagined.

The overall picture however, is one of some confusion. Focusing on three separate periods of Nureyev’s life, the disparage between them and the way they are presented on screen certainly takes away from the intrigue offered by the story. The difference between them, specifically the time spent in the Soviet and Paris isn’t defined enough. The scenes blend together far too easily, and Nureyev’s naivety as a character, and his essential oblivious nature towards the politics of the situation, make for a less than impactful tone and a far from flowing one.

The ballet is projected brilliantly and majestically, and the total focus lain upon Nureyev offers truly beautiful scenes that understand his brilliance, with fascinating insight coming from his characters actions and appreciation of the industry. Perhaps The White Crow’s most brilliantly imagined element is its complete understanding of who Nureyev was.

Certainly not for those against any picture hosting particularly artful ideas, The White Crow is beautifully shot, imagined, and produced to a meticulous extent. Nureyev’s character is envisioned wonderfully, starting from Ivenko’s ability as a dancer and subsequently as an actor, but the difficulties of the cold war, and expressing that as a side focus of the film’s main message, loses some of its impetus, leading to a less than stable vision of what Nureyev’s choice actually meant to him and his country.

3/5

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