Assassination Tango (2003)



Critic Consensus: Slow to start, this quirky film eventually overstays its welcome.

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Movie Info

John J. is deeply devoted to his girlfriend, Maggie, and to her young daughter, Jenny. He is also passionate about dancing, a talent he hones at local Brooklyn dance halls. But his skill on the dance floor seems incongruous with his profession--John is a hit man, and a very good one. Hired to assassinate an Argentine general in Buenos Aires, John is met in Argentina by Miguel, who takes him to the home of a couple whose son the general had killed. But John isn't interested in pathos or politics. As he says, "There's two sides to every story." He just wants to do his job, do it well, get paid, and get home. But when the General unexpectedly delays his return to Buenos Aires, John's neat plans are trashed. Angry, alone, and with nothing to do until the General's return, John explores the city and soon discovers the rich and mysterious world of the tango. Enthralled, he watches the dancers in the clubs moving with a spellbinding combination of fire and ice, passion and precision. He is hooked and begins to insinuate himself into the life of Manuela, a charming, brilliant dancer who becomes his teacher and guide into the world of this new dance. Vacillating between his profession and newfound passion, John finally is able to complete his hit, only to find out the vengeful military has tightened national security like a noose. Spellbound by the rich and mysterious world Manuela has shown him, his idyll is shattered when the reality of why he's there comes crashing down around him. His chances of getting out of Argentina grow slim as he struggles to keep from being found and killed. As evading capture becomes ever more difficult and he finds himself alone with no one to trust, John desperately tries to find a way out of South America and back home.
R (for language and some violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Robert Duvall
as John J. Anderson
Ruben Blades
as Miguel
Kathy Baker
as Maggie
James Keane
as Whitey
Frankie Gio
as Frankie
Frank Gio
as Frankie
Raul Outeda
as Tony Manas
Elvio Nessier
as Gen. Humberto Rojas
Frank Glo
as Frankie
Gregory Dayton
as Intelligence Officer
Karen De Vuono
as Girl at Bar
Gustavo Pastorini
as Man at Bar
Danay Wilson
as Girl at Table
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Critic Reviews for Assassination Tango

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (32)

Assassination Tango runs aground with an accumulation of small illogicalities.

May 28, 2003
Top Critic

It's a curious and unsatisfying lark, in which Robert Duvall the actor is rendered speechless by Robert Duvall the writer and sideswiped by Robert Duvall the director.

May 1, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic

A film that uses tango as a metaphor for life ought to generate some fire. But Assassination Tango offers little heat.

Full Review… | April 18, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

What we care about in Assassination Tango is the tango, not the assassination.

April 17, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

While the assassination plot is interesting, the rest of Tango is dramatically flaccid.

April 11, 2003
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

An ode to love and art while simultaneously a reminder of human frailty.

April 11, 2003
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Assassination Tango

Ever since I saw this movie a couple years ago I have wanted to go to Argentina to learn the tango. I thought this movie was great and well done.

todd bates
todd bates

Does a legendary actor deserve the chance to indulge as writer/director? If it's Robert Duvall, and he uses Kathy Baker and himself with a ponytail, I guess I can let it slide. Would I recommend watching said picture? No. I wanted him to succeed, but he takes no risks and elicits no emotions as writer, director, or actor! A major disappointment.


A supremely unhurried filmmaker, Duvall lets the story meander sleepily en route to a conclusion as ho-hum as everything preceding it.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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