An artistic entertainer with shades of music and dance, ‘High Strung’ is a wonderful treat for the audience. Combining domains of traditional and contemporary dance with the modern styles of hip-hop, the movie comes across as a novel blend of these interesting forms. With magic of violin that adds an amazing feel to the flow, director Michael Damian has certainly created a masterpiece for the viewers. Revolving around dance and music, writers Michael Damian and Janeen Damian have framed a wonderful storyline that can appeal to the audience. Though traditional and classical form of arts form the underlining theme of this movie, simplicity of the story and real-life depiction by the characters can form an instant connection with its viewers.
Based on the talent, dedication, sincerity, struggles, challenges and success of two central characters Ruby (Keenan Kampa) and Johnnie (Nicholas Galitzine), the movie revolves around their course of life in the competitive city of New York. While dedicating themselves to their passion for dance and music, as the two encounter road blocks and hurdles, the movie takes us into their artistic lives.
Bagging a scholarship for admission into the dance course at Manhattan conservatory of Arts, Ruby is determined to achieve her goals in genre of traditional and contemporary styles. As the plot unfolds, her sincerity and efforts during every class depict her passion towards the art.
With a supportive, enthusiastic and talented room-mate Jazzy (Sonoya Mizuno), as Ruby starts her life as a student, several interesting experiences and unexpected adventures greet her on the way. Powerful performances by Keenan Kampa and Sonoya Mizuno have injected life into their characters as the bond between Ruby and Jazzy is certainly one of the best highlights of this movie. From occasional secret chats during practice session in class to colorful discussions about men at home, from motivational talks to inspire each other about their goals to encouragement and support along the journey, moments like these are truly worth watching. While dealing with strict discipline of teachers Oxsana (Jane Seymour), Kramrovsky (Paul Freeman) and Markova (Maia Morgensten), as Ruby works hard to match their expectations, trust of these teachers and dedication portrayed by the student in her combine into an amazing outcome.
Playing for money on subway tunnels, British violinist Johnnie encounters numerous struggles for survival in the city. Along with challenge of finances, lack of legal documents for a valid stay in the country interfere with his passion for music. While experiencing harsh realities, yet focusing on his love for violin, Johnnie portrays the perfect example of dedication towards a talent. Following an unfortunate incident on the subway, when Ruby and Johnnie meet each other, an interesting twist enters into the tale. United by their passion for arts, yet separated by their unique circumstances; interaction and probable elements of romance and love between the two appear exciting. While Ruby believes in the power of education and training for development of her dance, Johnnie has a different mindset towards his passion.
Amidst probable challenges of deportation and revocation of scholarship, as Johnnie and Ruby enter into a competition of dance and music, their performance could change the course of the journey. As the only chance to continue their passion, novel partnership between them and a hip-hop dance crew ‘The Switch steps’ was their answer to the question of struggle. Portraying an interesting bond with the street-smart struggling dance group, numerous practice and preparation sessions add a substantial content to the plot. Unique combination of hip-hop with contemporary dance create an interesting union as every member of the team work hard for the final day. Facing threat of powerful, skilled and qualified competitors, besides involvement of hip-hop in a traditional setup of competition add to the stress of their performance as the outcome could leave a powerful impact.
Combination of hip-hop, contemporary and traditional forms of dance, along with melody of violin has added novel freshness to the movie, as it promises lot of entertainment for the viewers. While the flow of storyline was engaging along every moment, the movie seemed to end on a quick and unsatisfying note. A short look into their lives after the competition could have brought a wonderful end to the tale.
Watch the movie for its amazing cast, excellent storyline, rhythmic violin, graceful dances and entertaining hip-hop. With a perfect combination of arts, melodies, bonds and realities, ‘High Strung’ will definitely pull the right strings of your heart.