White Nights

1985, Movie, PG-13, 136 mins


The major problem with WHITE NIGHTS is that it tries to be so many things at once that it fails to be much of anything other than a vehicle to watch two of the best dancers around strut and tap their stuff. On the surface, it has it all: love, dancing, a KGB spy plot, a plane crash, a rock score, and a music-video look. Nikolai Rodchenko (Mikhail Baryshnikov) is a Russian defector who goes off to Europe to fulfill a ballet engagement. His plane crash-lands in Siberia, and his worst dreams are realized. He is back in the country he risked his life to flee. The KGB is thrilled to have their most famous defector back on their soil and try their best to have him officially return to Russia. The KGB boss (Jerzy Skolimowski) moves the dancer in with Raymond Greenwood (Gregory Hines), an American tap dancer who defected behind the Iron Curtain during the Vietnam War. Thinking that Raymond can influence Nikolai, the KGB puts the two men together in Nikolai's old apartment in Leningrad where they will live with Raymond's wife, Darya (Isabella Rossellini), and a host of KGB eyes watching them. While the intrigues are going on, the audience is treated to some spectacular Twyla Tharp-choreographed moments between Hines and Baryshnikov that are a highlight. A good cast is not given enough to do and has far too much time to not do it in. The picture is long, mostly flash and not that much substance. Lionel Richie's song "Say You, Say Me" won an Oscar, and Stephen Bishop's "Separate Lives" was also nominated. leave a comment

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