Slam Dance

(Wayne Wang, USA, 1987)


From a traditional lit-crit angle, Slam Dance deals with Wayne Wang's usual thematic concerns: personal identity and moral responsibility.

But its finest moments occur in the stunning plot revelations which allow surprising linkages of characters, situations, and spaces.

Slam Dance celebrates, in the name of pure cinema, what we might call the clinch effect: those powerful moments when elements and clues that have been casually placed around the film suddenly lock together.

Wang also understands well how the viewer's journey through the particular textual space of the thriller is like the trail through a labyrinth – full of tunnel visions and tight passageways.

The film teases interpretative minds with its dizzy array of doppelgangers, symmetries and ambiguities. But finally, aren't these devices more simply the classic thriller repertory of moods, effects, transitions?

MORE Wang: Anywhere But Here, The Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Strangers, Blue in the Face, Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart

© Adrian Martin August 1988

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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