A married couple try and get away from it all at their summer home in order to enjoy a few weeks of self introspection, misery and that most bitter of diseases – the malaise of middle class life.
Newcomer Sasha C. Damjanoyski, who serves as both writer and director, has created characters for which I am not sure that even he has much sympathy. The film is centred on Neil (Adam Napier) and Alice (Joanne Murdoch), a couple faced with a number of troubles. Neil suffers from a mysterious illness that makes him come across as the most self centred man in the universe. Alice spends her days trying to escape into music and dance.
In the blurb for the film we are told that “there is no doubt of their love for one another”, but boy, you could have fooled me. They seem to be together for dependency rather than for love. They enable each others misery.
When they speak it is with the clinical appraisal of scientists assessing a species of plant life. Looking off into the distance, Neil sneers at the world with a disdain which withdraws any sympathy you may have had for him, and attempts to undercut this with humour sadly fall flat. Alice, while more driven, is so closed off that any characters who reach out to her are met with coldness.
Their friend, Lizzie (Jane Stanton), feels more grounded and generally much more upbeat than the others. Unsurprisingly both Neil and Alice seem to regard her as an inconvenience. To Alice, her friend’s relationship problems pale in insignificance to the trials that she herself suffers from. Thankfully, Lizzie is the key for the audience that this couple and their situations are ridiculous.
The actors for the most part do good work, although it feels like the script was going for a more rat-a-tat-tat style of verbal sparring than what we see on screen and Murdoch occasionally seems uncomfortable with some of the swearing that she is required to say.
Damjanoyski’s writing appears to be aiming to make a statement on the strength of relationships and the importance of facing reality. Unfortunately many moments of the script feel forced and what are suppose to be amusing asides come across more as whining at the world. Neil at times feels like a middle class Alf Garnett. Organic foods, family pack shampoos and not greeting guests at the door all suffer from his wrath.
There is also an unnecessary “tell, don’t show” aspect about the script. At one point we see Neil appearing and telling Alice something about her dancing which the film was already doing a good job of conveying visually. The direction is well done, giving the audience the feeling of being in the same room as Alice and Neil, and there is some beautiful location shooting.
Will Alice and Neil make it? In the end you come away with the feeling that these people are destined to spend the rest of their lives together, miserable and without passion. But you know what? I think that deep down they wouldn’t have it any other way.
For more information on Dance With Me please visit the official website - click
Stay tuned to IndieFlicks for an interview with Sasha to discuss his time in film and the experience he had whilst making Dance With Me.