Movie Review: Girl Walk / All Day

Earlier this year, KEXP previewed the Seattle premiere of Girl Talk’s unofficial full length music video, All Day, set to his 2010 album of the same name.  Funded through donations on Kickstarter and of his own money, director Jacob Krupnick set out to shoot a dance video that, while viral in spirit, was different in its approach.  Unlike other viral videos that focused as much on the gawkers passing by as the dancers themselves, the silent dance film boasts (gasp!) an actual narrative with fleshed out protagonists, antagonists, and the most annoyingly adorable ingenue this side of Amelie in dancer / lead actress Anne Marsen, who plays the bubbly individual known only as “Girl.”

Marsen infects you with her unwavering enthusiasm and her ability to convey emotion and conversation through the language of dance.  As perfectly summed up by the mashup of the Ramone’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” & Missy Elliott’s “Get Your Freak On,” Marsen’s character is bored of the monotony of normal life and as such, krumps her way out of ballet class to embark on her own version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

As she dances across New York, leaning back, and dropping it like its hot for any citygoer who will give her the time of day, she eventually runs into two like-minded albeit polarizing individuals in the smooth, but timid Gentlemen (Dai Omiya) and the confident, but abundantly aggressive Creep, played by John Doyle, both of whom take an immediate fancy to the young Marsen.  The true scope of the film begins to take shape as slowly but surely, the love triangle between the three lead actors takes center stage and gives the dance film a refreshing sense of gravitas and charm not seen in other entries in the genre (*cough* Step Up *cough*).

Despite that the fact that only three lines of dialogue are ever spoken in the entire  film, the characters nevertheless banter, bond, flirt, and learn from each other through their appreciation of dance;  the Gentlemen & Girl’s initial courtship, set to the mashup of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and Radiohead’s “Creep,” is both surreal and unavoidably romantic.

Without spoiling the rest of the film, I can say that the Girl’s effervescent veneer is put to the test (And how could it not?  Getting the boy of your dreams and the rest of New York to fall for you is a tall order for any would-be protagonist)  before paying off in a touching and earned moment of closure, which is perfectly punctuated by the film’s closing mashup of UGK’s “One Day” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

At 90 minutes, the film succeeds  at keeping the pace of the film from dropping into repetition by constantly populating the world with new elements (i.e hip-hop / theater troupes, parkour, subway flash mobs, pole dancing, etc.) for our three leads to play with.  Fans of musicals, silent cinema, and of course, Girl Talk, will find much to root, and of course, dance for.

At the end of the day, All Day is less a rollicking dance film, and more about a statement on the clash between the ebb and flow of normal life and the need to sometimes let your freak-flag fly.  The message of the film, if you allow yourself to hear it, is that is that you make the most impact upon the world when you simply refuse to be anybody but yourself.

…The other message of the film is that mash-ups of 80’s songs and Jay-Z rocks.

The film will screen in Austin, TX for the remainder of August 2012, so if it is playing in your area, definitely attend as the event will surely be as much a dance party as it is a movie screening.  However, for everybody else, you can view the film in its entirety at All Day’s official website, which also features screening dates, cast & crew information, movie trailers, and other film-related content.  In the meantime, catch the trailer for All Day, now:

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