How She Move (Mongrel, 2007) D: Ian Iqbal Rashid, w/ Rutina Wesley, Dwain Murphy. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNN
Lots of high-energy dancing, well-judged acting, smart dialogue and low-key visuals keep this urban teen dance flick fast and fun despite a nothing-special story.
When her sister ODs, Raya (Rutina Wesley) has to ditch private school and return to her old high school and family in Jane-Finch. All at once, she’s in a crew and stepping in hopes of scoring the cash to finance her bid for medical school. There’s a good crew and a bad crew, a potential romance, a rival girl, a fretful mom and a nerdboy who blossoms.
Familiar elements, but writer Annmarie Morais and director Ian Iqbal Rashid make some smart choices. They keep the dialogue simple and short and the big melodramatic scenes off screen. Rashid does nothing to romanticize his drab concrete setting, and occasionally uses it to enhance the emotion with near-monochrome shots.
The cast, a mix of actors and dancers whose weeks of hard rehearsal form the best part of the extras, keep their performances intense yet quiet. They let their biggest moments go with a word and a shrug that brings a strong sense of reality to the film.
EXTRAS Two making-of docs, character explanation doc. Widescreen. English, French audio. English subtitles.