MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Having never experienced the original film, it’s quite nice to avoid entering the whole ‘necessary or unnecessary remake’ debate. For me, Footloose felt fresh, well scripted with a good energy and a real uplifting spirit. ‘Feel good’ is so over used but I left the cinema…feeling good.
I don’t want to ruin the beginning due to a rather surprising opening sequence which sets up the film’s premise. What you do need to know is in this town, down in the South, teenage dancing is BANNED. Promiscuity is denied in favour of Christian values and a town dominated by its elders. It’s a film equally about a denial of self expression and teenage rebellion as much as it’s about dance. It’s slick, smooth and makes you want to move.
If you want to see something chock full of dance numbers this might let you down. Surprisingly, dance is used sparingly and the characters are allowed to tell the story. Kenny Wormald gives a good post-Efron performance as Ren McCormack, a Boston city-boy and newcomer to the town who goes to live with his Uncle following the death of his mother. Ren falls for Ariel (Julianne Hough), the daughter of the local Revered (Dennis Quaid) and enforcer of the town’s conservative laws. Ren loves to dance, Ariel loves to dance. Everyone loves to dance, but no one’s allowed to dance. Why aren’t we allowed to dance and what can we do about it? Although the film’s setup may seems somewhat contrived, it does actually makes sense given the family background, which is explored nicely and really holds the film together.
It’s the lack of dancing that allows Footloose to rise above so much of the post-Glee or High School Musical output that seems to be on a constant trail of release. When Ren is upset and wants to release his anger he finds an abandoned warehouse, switches on his car speakers and vents using movement. It’s an incredibly organic scene and creates a feeling instantly relatable. If the film featured a dance sequence every 10 minutes this wouldn’t have had the same effect. This is a town where dance is banned, treated like a felony. It becomes a form of rebellion and that’s what gives Footloose a genuine spirit.
It’s clean, family friendly and pretty damn well entertaining. It feels modern and fresh. Funny, fun and clean shaven. Take the kids. Take the whole family. Let loose. Footloose.
Footloose is out on 14th October in the UK and US. Running time: 113 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).
Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.
Review by David Rank