NOTE: This review is a republication- Source: Variety (by Guy Lodge).
In a genre not traditionally given to brevity, James Marsh‘s literary biopic “Dance First” at least has that on its side: In 100 minutes, it races through the key events and alliances in the life of Irish author and dramatist Samuel Beckett, even finding time for some metaphysical musings alongside the cradle-to-grave checklist. But Beckett’s characteristic terseness — or radical “lessness,” to borrow a title from one of his stories — isn’t a feature of this creditable but ponderous film, which ultimately achieves its efficient runtime by skirting any meaningful engagement with Beckett’s work and literary legacy. What’s left is an anatomy of his unhappiness via a procession of stymied or soured relationships: shot with grace, acted with intelligence, but short on Beckettian daring or wit.
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