Cert 12A 127mins Stars 3
There’s little to put a spring in your step in this austere biopic of Soviet ballet legend, Rudolf Nureyev, which only soars when he’s briefly dancing.
Exploring his early life from childhood to the cusp of global fame, it’s set at the height of the Cold War in May 1961, and culminates in Nureyev’s life-threatening attempt to defect from communist USSR to the West.
The title was his childhood nickname meaning ‘outsider’, and Nureyev is portrayed as an arrogant paragon of self-improvement with an independent streak which comes from his harsh and impoverished upbringing.
Ukrainian dancer, Oleg Ivenko, has the necessary muscular grace in the lead role, but is acted off the screen by director Ralph Fiennes, who’s best known as the boss of super spy, James Bond.
Fiennes plays Nuryev’s tutor with a softly spoken and sad dignity, and though Nureyev’s defection attempt is agreeably staged with belated tension, this is a world away from the slick and sexy antics of 007.