By Randy Pelish
The White Crow is a flawed but worthy portrait of one of ballet’s most iconic figures, Rudolf Nureyev, at a critical moment in his life, his defection to the West.
The actors, especially first-timer Oleg Ivenko as Nureyev, are wonderful. Ivenko, a ballet star in his own right, captures the essence of this mercurial performer. Nureyev was at once talented, intelligent, and handsome, he was also arrogant, selfish, and self-destructive. This young man dazzled the world. We see him at the very moment he arrived on the world stage.
The art direction is also superlative. Europe from 1938 Siberia to 1961 Parisian opulence is lovingly recreated.
The film’s flaw is the script. It is the script that does not always succeed. But the film succeeds most admirably in the Parisian sequences at the heart of the story. However, the flashbacks are less effective, especially those scenes of Nureyev as a boy. That being said, director Ralph Fiennes has made a film worthy of your time.
You need not be a student of ballet to understand this film. Technique is all important. When you are a genius, however, you make new rules. Nureyev had a great gift. He knew it better than anyone, and so will you after seeing this fine film.
The White Crow is currently playing at the Century 12 Theater in downtown Reno.