'One Man Walking' is the latest foray into dance film making by the production company MJW comprised of producer Anne Beresford and director Helen Williams. This particular effort also has Jonzi D. (Breakin' Convention) on-board as a writer.
Here in TheLab™, we've had our issues with MJW before, none of them in the least bit positive.
A good dance film should have, without fail, good choreography, good dancing, good photography and good editing. The "plot" synopsis for this 19 minute short film however does not suggest that you're going to get any of those things.
"It's rush hour on London Bridge. Crowds are going to work - faces, legs, shadows, backpacks. One man is standing alone. We watch the world through his eyes. He looks up and sees a solitary figure standing on the corner of a tall building. He starts walking through the City of London, witnessing its characters, finally standing up to the Bank of England."
After you've finished saying "huh?" and have managed to crowbar your face from the puzzled expression it has no doubt contorted into you can settle down and watch the film.
The initial "effect" shows the main protagonist, sans shoes, walking on the aforementioned London Bridge while everybody is a speedy blur around him. As tricks go this one was naff 20 years ago. From this point on it's a slippery slope.
What follows is a mish-mash of ideas and setups that are neither visually nor choreographically impressive. Combine that with a complete lack of coherence in the story line and, as a viewer, you are rapidly becoming bored.
One particular sequence shows an Asian dancer temporarily leaving a rucksack unattended at a bus stop much to the consternation of the other people in attendance. It's a clumsy, inelegant metaphor that would be more at home in an episode of Spooks. If you want to analyse the psychological fears of suicide bombing you're going to have to try a lot harder.
Shoehorned in for no other reason than just to do it, is a short Parkour segment that makes about as much sense as everything else and manages to be just as dull as everything else.
Overall the whole feature has the appearance of being an ill-conceived, under rehearsed mess of weak ideas. Normally we could just say "who cares?" and move on but this particular film was shown on television, where people could see it, accidentally or otherwise, albeit on Channel 4 late at night. In short, this film is lazy from start to finish.
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Bizarrely, the director of Dance UK, Caroline Miller, posted a message, via Facebook naturally, about the film that said;
"One Man Walking" on Channel 4 tonight BRILLIANT - a MUST WATCH (see link). Really shows why DANCE IS A SERIOUS ART FORM. Caroline" (emphasis her own).
As you may know Dance UK is the advocacy organisation for dance, apparently. Previously this organisation has cited 'Streetdance 3D', Ed Vaizey (arts minister) and Jeremy Hunt (another arts minister) as being things that are particularly good for dance.
Perhaps that should tell you everything you need to know about 'One Man Walking'.
If you want to watch movement well choreographed and well filmed then we suggest a box set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which, mercifully, was not made by MJW Productions.
[ Watch on 4OD ] (probably UK only)