The Dancer Upstairs - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Dancer Upstairs Reviews

May 23, 2003
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.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
May 16, 2003
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.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 16, 2003
It is not revolutionary, but it brims with promise and a love of film, and is a fine if worried dance indeed.
Read More | Original Score: B+
May 16, 2003
Moving, melancholy, and, yes, political.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 16, 2003
Reflects its director, being intelligent and elegantly turned-out but distant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
May 16, 2003
Bardem's performance lingers in ways that give the movie resonance.
Read More | Original Score: B
May 15, 2003
Delivers a haunting story of crime and passion.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
May 15, 2003
A welcome throwback to a time when political thrillers relied more on character and tone than on car chases and gun battles.
Read More | Original Score: B+
May 9, 2003
A slow-burning affair that may seem exotic but mainly crawls from cliche to cliche.
May 9, 2003
It's not a great film, but in its reckless audacity ... it's reassuring. Someone's still willing to take a big chance.
May 9, 2003
The film may strike some viewers as slow-paced -- it certainly struck me that way, at least some of the time -- but it's a pleasure seeing actors, particularly Bardem, given time to breathe.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
May 9, 2003
An adult piece of work, made up mainly of quiet, emotional scenes and detailed performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
May 9, 2003
Far from perfect but completely unique, the film could best be described as a paranoid South American metaphysical political thriller -- you heard me -- and whatever its failures, they're not ones of nerve or imagination.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
May 8, 2003
An elegant and intelligent drama.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 8, 2003
Smart, upmarket entertainment.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 8, 2003
From this tangled web, Malkovich weaves something delicate and devastating.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 8, 2003
What could have been a routine cop-vs.-killer melodrama instead becomes a character-rich, substantial film with important insights about love, justice and honor.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 8, 2003
Atmospheric but dramatically murky, a mood in search of a story.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
May 7, 2003
It is really quite wonderful, in the age of hyperkinetic thrillers, to encounter a movie that takes the time to record the play of thought and emotion in its characters, to let their conflicts develop in a natural and unforced way.
May 5, 2003
... a terrific film.
May 4, 2003
Bardem, the star of The Dancer Upstairs, is that rare modern performer who personifies heroism.
May 2, 2003
As a man struggling to carve a moral path through thickets of corruption and violence, the Spanish actor Javier Bardem holds the centre of John Malkovich's directorial-debut like a magnetic core.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
May 2, 2003
After an initially engrossing start, it stumbles through a series of implausible coincidences and murky events, barely held together by the magnetic performance of Javier Bardem.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
May 2, 2003
It moves with a compelling intensity toward its conclusion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
May 2, 2003
A haunting and often beautiful work, part doomed romance and part political thriller, that demonstrates the adult command of the medium Malkovich has always demonstrated as an actor.
May 2, 2003
Although Malkovich has a good eye for composition and a deft way with rat-a-tat dialogue, Dancer sags in a few too many places.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
May 2, 2003
It's sober, deliberate, self-consciously mysterious and no fun at all.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
May 1, 2003
Sheer wooliness undermines the sober political stance of John Malkovich's overexcited directorial debut.
May 1, 2003
A stoic tease of a movie. But it is a worthy effort because Mr. Malkovich proves his devotion to actors, lingering on them during moments of silence.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
May 1, 2003
Bardem ... marvelously underplays here as a man getting resigned to lifelong weariness in both his personal and professional lives.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 1, 2003
Here, the urgent question of how an individual maintains his humanity when his paychecks are cut by a government every bit as corrupt as its terrorist outlaws isn't the stuff of abstract speculation but a matter of life, death and honest screen thrills.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
May 1, 2003
Javier Bardem is terrific, as usual, in a film that hovers between genres, albeit with considerable grace.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 1, 2003
A labor of love hobbled by a stubborn desire to eke its delicate love story out of a premise that all but sits up and begs to be treated as a political thriller.
May 1, 2003
A promising film rather than a fully realized one, an ambitious but cloudy tale through which the warm rays of a luminous intelligence and sympathy occasionally glint.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
April 30, 2003
The movie has a mystery, and moral unease, that lingers.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
April 29, 2003
Little other than the love story subplot to energize the proceedings, many viewers will find that, for all its grace, The Dancer Upstairs moves too slowly.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
April 29, 2003
Initially engrossing, The Dancer Upstairs slackens in its second half.