The Dancer Upstairs (2002)



Critic Consensus: Javier Bardem is compelling in the lead role as a police detective in search of a violent, mysterious politcal radical, and as a director, John Malkovich proves adept at crafting a suspenseful mood.

Movie Info

As a Latin American nation nears collapse under a highly organized terrorist movement, idealistic policeman Agustin Rejas faces the greatest challenge of his career: to catch the mysterious guerilla leader Ezequiel. The brains behind the bloody revolution that threatens to bring the government and entire country down, Ezequiel is as elusive as Rejas' superiors are corrupt--an irony not lost on Rejas, who left a career as a lawyer to try to find "a more honorable way of practicing the law." The … More

Rating: R (for strong violence, and for language)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Nicholas Shakespeare
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 2003
Box Office: $2.3M
Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site


as Det. Lt. Agustin Rej...

as Det. Sgt. Sucre

as Yolanda

as Ezequiel/Duran

as Sgt. Pisac

as Major Kwan

as Quesada's Wife

as Chinese Ambassadress

as Quesada's Bodyguard

as Admiral Prado

as Father Ramon

as Woman in Pick-up/Edi...

as Indian No. 1 in Pick...

as Indian No. 2 in Pick...

as TV Technician

as Shanty Girl

as Shanty Policeman

as Manager

as Captain Montesinos

as Theatre Manager

as Woman in Theatre

as Nurse

as Boy with a Poster

as Woman in Convertible

as Man in Convertible

as Coca Cola Cap

as Radio Announcer

as Radio Announcer/Stud...

as Radio Announcer

as Radio Announcer

as Abimael Guzman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Dancer Upstairs

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Critic Reviews for The Dancer Upstairs

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (41)

The Dancer Upstairs is, like its director, sleek, mysterious and intelligent. But until its last-half hour or so, it is also, unfortunately, mind-numbing.

May 23, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The Dancer Upstairs is intelligently scripted, beautifully photographed, nicely paced and well-acted.

Full Review… | December 6, 2014
New Statesman

Though flawed and listless as a political drama or thriller, Malkovich's feature debut deserves credit for itis ambition and for tackling an overtly political theme (guerrilla wars in Peru), a rare sight in today's indie milieu.

Full Review… | June 9, 2006

Em sua estréia na direção, Malkovich conduz a história com segurança e sem exibicionismo, enquanto Bardem oferece mais uma grande atuação.

April 25, 2004
Cinema em Cena

'Shakespeare retooled his novel for the screen adaptation ... It is Malkovich who reinjects the mystery, along with a little magic.'

Full Review… | March 3, 2004

Malkovich's take on a world of corruption, intrigue and terrorism is elegantly mysterious, but...leaps in plot and missteps in character trip up The Dancer Upstairs.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Audience Reviews for The Dancer Upstairs

A hugely promising directorial debut by John Malkovich, this is a stunning political thriller. Javier Bardem is perfect as an ambitious police captain, saddled with a materialistic wife, who finds himself falling for his daughter's dancing teacher while hunting for a revolutionary leader in an unnamed Latin American state. Intelligent, disturbing, suspenseful, romantic and, finally, moving, the film is perfectly paced and very well photographed. Strongly recommended.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer


A very solid directorial effort from Malkovich, with flaws and everything. Bardem is spot on in the main role.

Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer


An intelligent, riveting, tense and nerve wrecking thriller. skillful and remarkable. Malkovich gives and outstanding directional debut. Javier Bardem delivers an astonishing performance. It's as thrilling as it is inriuging.

Al S

Super Reviewer

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