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The Dancer Upstairs benefits from a talented cast and alluring intelligence, although pacing problems prevent this John Malkovich-directed mystery from reaching its full potential. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Lawyer turned police detective Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem) is on the case of a domestic terrorist cell whose tactics range from the mischievous to the homicidal, led by self-proclaimed President Ezequiel (Abel Folk). Distracting Rejas from his investigation is his daughter's dance instructor, Yolanda (Laura Morante), with whom Rejas begins an unexpected romance. As Rejas grows closer to both Yolanda and the terrorists, he begins to suspect that there might be a connection between the two.

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Critic Reviews for The Dancer Upstairs

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (73) | Rotten (41)

  • With a clever Graham-Greene-esque script, choice acting by the whole ensemble (especially Bardem), fine music by Alberto Iglesias, and the strong directorial control of Malkovich, the film zips along.

    July 19, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The Dancer Upstairs is intelligently scripted, beautifully photographed, nicely paced and well-acted.

    December 6, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 2/5
  • Falters in small but important ways ... while Malkovich stays resolutely behind the camera, a consummate professional who, this time, misses his mark by the merest of degrees.

    May 18, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It thrives on the hush before the explosion instead of its aftermath, and it's that eerie sense of expectation that gives the film its thick aura of suspense.

    May 16, 2003 | Rating: 3/4
  • It is not revolutionary, but it brims with promise and a love of film, and is a fine if worried dance indeed.

    May 16, 2003 | Rating: B+

Audience Reviews for The Dancer Upstairs

  • Jun 18, 2017
    okay but pacing was a bit slow
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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.
    Stephen M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2007
    A very solid directorial effort from Malkovich, with flaws and everything. Bardem is spot on in the main role.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 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.
    Ida K Super Reviewer

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