The Dancer Upstairs Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 17, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2007
A very solid directorial effort from Malkovich, with flaws and everything. Bardem is spot on in the main role.
Super Reviewer
½ September 19, 2006
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.
½ December 15, 2009
Good movie, good acting...suspenseful...not what I thought it would be about at all...

Somewhat predictable ending...
March 8, 2009
Slow-paced, but intelligent drama loosely based on a policeman in Latin America who hunted and captured a revolutionist.
½ October 20, 2008
This film is the directing debut of John Malkovich. It's an engrossing tale of the search for the leader of a group of revolutionaries in an unnamed Latin American country. The acting is first rate, and the authentic locations make for great atmosphere. If you liked The Day of the Jackal, Z, and Salvador, you'll enjoy this first rate political drama.
½ May 26, 2008
So this "thiller' was some what all over the place but somehow it worked! Bardem shown as usual as a man conflicted...the location was raw and real added to the terrorism that was the main plot of the film...kudos to the sad ending, it did not all work out in the end and it was powerful in which it displays the extent to which people may be manipulated...some ends were left untied though...Malkovich!!!
April 15, 2007
Decent film exploring terrorism (aka freedom fighers) in Latin America. Plot has a few interesting twists but sometimes plays like a Law and Order episode (in Latin America). More of a love story than a thriller and a weak love story at that.
Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2007
A lot of disturbing animal cruelty scenes in this movie. Other than the violence, I thought it was boring and couldn't get into it. I turned it off half way through.
April 12, 2006
The Nina Simone track of "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" is the best thing about this movie - and it's worth seeing it just for that.
½ June 14, 2015
Bardem's performance alone is worth the watch and add in a good,tense story.
½ September 7, 2013
Aunque su ritmo se haga insoportablemente lento en partes y la historia de amor entre Rejas y Yolanda no sea nada interesante, Malkovich logra hacer un thriller policiaco bien estructurado, con maravillosas actuaciones y un ambiente misterioso en todo el filme.
April 29, 2013
As usual, Javier Bardem is captivating. Overall, I liked the movie but the local language (Quechua I think) was not translated and I think these characters had important things to say, which a viewer will miss.
January 9, 2012
A detective is on a search of the perpetrators of a series of acts that can be interpreted as calls for the revolt against the current government in a Latin American country. As his daughter attends dancing classes, he can't see the obvious: the dancing teacher who he is falling in love with, is one of the murderous rebels. As he cracks the riddle, it is too late, the revolutionary movement turns irreversible. Art-House-styled movie directed by John Malkovich about cruelty of any ideology, and its departure from the real world of feelings and affections. Too long and grim.
½ October 9, 2011
Moody and terrific. Acting, story, directing, filming work together to create something special. Bardem is steamy and has incredible chemistry with lead actress. Political but not to the point of overshadowing the characters.
September 13, 2011
Excelent argument. Inteligent movie. John Malcovich can Direct a few more :-)
½ June 3, 2011
If you love Javier Bardem, don't miss this subtle, moody suspense film, directed by John Malkovich.
April 16, 2011
read the excellent book; skip the so-so movie.
½ December 8, 2010
I read this years ago but missed the film. Today I was reading an article in the Intelligent Life off shoot of the Economist and realised that the dancer was a real person and is due to be released from 25 years in prison shortly. Super article by the author brought it all back and I couldnt wait to repair the original omission - bought the DVD!
November 7, 2010
The Dancer Upstairs hangs almost everything on direction, photography and the stellar talents of Javier Bardem, and it almost works. Unfortunately, the adaptation doesn't quite hang together on the screen. There are just too many unanswered questions, too many unexplained actions, too many coincidences. But this is so close to working that I wonder why John Malkovich hasn't directed another feature since. He definitely has the eye for the job.
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