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Flashdance

Year: 1983
Director: Adrian Lyne
Producer: Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer
Writer: Joe Esterhas
Cast: Jennifer Beals
Another of those films where you can pinpoint the era almost down to the year not just by the music and fashions but the morals of the time, for example where one kiss means lifelong true love and you just know the man and woman are going to end up together no matter what the adversity.

But more so than that, it's a cross-pollination of the trashiest creative personalities from early 1980s Hollywood. You have the maestro of cinematic sleaze Joe Esterhas, by all accounts such an abrasive, sexually aggressive personality he might as well have been just like hooker- and drug-fuelled producers.

You have Simpson and Bruckheimer, launching their calling card on an unsuspecting world and forging a new style that would dominate the 80s, of chart-friendly soundtracks and machismo. They were under the tutelage of then-Paramount chief Michael Eisner, who (legend has it) was uniquely involved in the casting after Simpson and Bruckheimer took three girls they were considering for the part of Alex before him and asked him which one he most wanted to fuck (lucky Jennifer Beals).

And there was director Adrian Lyne, synonymous with sexually charged imagery like strips of sunlight piercing smoky rooms through thin blinds.

Together, they crafted an iconic but - with the benefit of hindsight - quite woeful movie. The love story is straight out of a million Cinderella fantasies as beautiful young welder (as if that shouldn't be warning enough) Alex (Beals) really wants to be a dancer but is too scared to apply at a prestigious ballet academy because she has neither the breeding nor the training.

But she has the passion and the talent, and this is both the emulation from and the template to a million other 'you can do it' tales, but not before she falls in love with the metalwork plant boss in a part that's mostly superfluous to the plot.

The drawcard for the movie was that Alex is also a dancer at a sleazy bar. She's not quite a stripper - this is the early 80s and the Simpson/Bruckheimer m.o. was to aim at a broad teen audience, but you get the drift (as the films says in the numerous, epilepsy-inducing dance sequences.

Most bizarrely of all is the blink-and-you'll miss it climax. Inspired by the death of her dancing mentor, Alex goes to apply at the academy and put on a show they've never seen before, made up of hot moves from her nightclub act. She runs outside with glee into her lover's arms and we learn no more about her fate, the movie ending as if they ran out of film.

Badly scripted and sloppily paced with an uninteresting premise and storyline and a badly dated style, it's more a curiosity piece now.

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