Review: BalletBoyz – hauntingly beautiful

Review: BalletBoyz – hauntingly beautiful

Screened on Remembrance Sunday, BalletBoyz’ Young Men challenges the necessity of language in depicting the horror of trench warfare.

BalletBoyz was launched in 2010 by former Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, whose main aim was to show that “movement can convey complex emotion on screen”. It is clear that the BalletBoyz did just that, as they eloquently portrayed the harrowing brutality of war in their feature-length silent film, Young Men. Young Men was screened for Remembrance Day weekend on BBC2, and depicted the tale of a group of young soldiers who are brought together by the horrors of trench warfare.

‘Young Men is a hauntingly beautiful and compelling depiction of the psychological trauma endured by the soldiers who are consumed by the unending cycle of violence and death.’

Despite the experience of the soldiers being almost unimaginable, Young Men is a hauntingly beautiful and compelling depiction of the psychological trauma endured by the soldiers who are consumed by the unending cycle of violence and death. Whilst some viewers have criticised the production for glamorising or aestheticising war, I believe that the dancers did not fall into the trap of sensationalising a sensitive topic with graphic effects or meticulous camera angles. Instead, Young Men was gracefully shot through intimate close-ups as the storyline focused on the raw dynamics between the soldiers and the ongoing effects of PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).

‘I believe that the dancers did not fall into the trap of sensationalising a sensitive topic’

The closing scene was perhaps the most touching and painful to watch, as it showed a shell-shocked soldier writhing in emotional torment as he relives his memories of the war. If you didn’t catch Young Men on air, I highly recommend watching it on BBC iPlayer where it is available until 12th December or on the BalletBoyz official site. The show paid an alluring tribute to our soldiers by bringing a whole new understanding of the agony of conflict and proves that a powerful message can be conveyed without the need for a single word to be spoken.

Adina Rees

(Image courtesy of BalletBoyz)

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