The Dancer Upstairs - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Dancer Upstairs Reviews

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½ August 7, 2015
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 military's response to the brutal tactics of Ezequiel's followers is equally ferocious, creating an atmosphere of mass panic. In the midst of the chaos, Rejas finds respite in Yolanda, his daughter's soulfully beautiful ballet teacher. But she, who appears to be a shelter from the storm, may in actuality be the storm's eye. As Rejas draws nearer to the man who considers himself to be the "Fourth Flame of Communism," he and the dancer he loves will be forced to choose between love, country and self.
Most memorable quote: " The soldiers rape every woman in the villages; it's not a revolution; it's a fuckaton"
½ June 14, 2015
Bardem's performance alone is worth the watch and add in a good,tense story.
August 10, 2014
An interesting political "thriller", and also directorial debut for Malkovic.
March 29, 2014
Directed by John Malkovich, this was written by Nicholas Shakespeare, based on his own 1995 novel of the same name. It was inspired by the Maoist uprising that happened in Peru in the 1980's, the group was known as the Shining Path, but their attempt for power was short lived. Although the film deviates from what really happened during the uprising, it's well made. In an unnamed South American country (maybe Peru), Detective Agustín Rejas (Javier Bardem) is assigned with hunting down the self-styled President Ezequiel (Abel Folk), who is a guerrilla leader hoping to overthrow the country's government. But he's a hard man to find, and Rejas gets distracted by Yolanda (Laura Morante), a ballet teacher who his daughter goes to. But, even though Rejas soon has strong feelings for Yolanda and that he finds solace in her from the hell going on outside, he soon discovers that Yolanda has a secret to hide. One which could compromise Rojas investigations and search, and put his life in danger. Malkovich's directorial debut is done with confidence and a deft hand, it has some good performances, with the actors alternating between English and Spanish. It was this film that helped bring Javier Bardem to international prominence and future Oscar-fame. But, it is well made and it's an old fashioned detective film.
½ December 24, 2013
Interesting, intriguing drama. On the surface a police-vs-terrorists/revolutionaries thriller, but it is much more than that. Emotional, human drama too.

Good performances by Javier Bardem and Laura Morante in the lead roles.

Only big negative is with the production quality - sound level is quite low.
½ December 9, 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.
November 6, 2013
This movie is about love - of country, of family, of right, the love between a man and a woman, sacrifice - for country, family, right, and the love between a man and a woman, seen from opposing sides, portrayed with good balance.
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.
½ January 24, 2013
In the beginning of the film, one of the revolutionaries tells a checkpoint security guard that his dead dog's name is Tupac. Tupac Amaru was the last indigenous leader of the Inca people in Peru and Tupac Amaru II was the leader of the 1780s uprising in colonial day Cusco, Peru. (The late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur is named after the latter).
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.
January 5, 2012
John Malkovich's successful directoral debut, and the great Javier Bardem is the main reason. Bardem plays a cop in Latin America who is investigating a clever and sometimes frightening revolutionary movement. Along the way, he romantically bonds with a beautiful dance instructor who may be a suspect. Also, a rare opportunity to see into another culture without subtitles.
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 August 21, 2011
I think South America has it's violence and guerrillas, as in any part of this planet/world/universe/galaxy/imagination. Still, I was bored of sleep in a few scenes.

Plot: I understood a little, so, here is the thing...Augistin and Sucre are investigating some dog murders that end up with some large posters with something written on it, defending a goverment they think is the most loyal to keep on going and follow. Who is the one behind this murders, that includes childrens? Watch the film. Is not interesting, since real life is like this in everything, but defenetly, I'm kind of glad I live in the Caribbean, and not in South America or any part of the planet with guerrillas or soldiers.

Acting: Javier Bardem did an amazing job as Augustin Rejas. Of all the movies of him, this role is the BEST. He was defenetly transformed and magnific. Same Juan as Sucre. Laura as Yolanda was incredible and stunning. She nailed her role too. The rest of the cast did amazing also, so, stars for all of them.

Music: I think this was the most missing part on the whole film. No stars for that, sorry musicians.

To end this review, is not bad, nor good, is REGULAR. 2 & a half stars of 5. Enjoy and HASTA LA PROXIMA AMIGOS/AS! CHAO! BLESS YOU ALL ALWAYS!!!
June 17, 2011
I can't have enough of Javier Bardem, this man is almost perfect!
½ June 3, 2011
If you love Javier Bardem, don't miss this subtle, moody suspense film, directed by John Malkovich.
½ April 30, 2011
The multi-talented star turns his hand to directing in this subtle but powerful story of an honest man torn betwixt love and duty. Malkovitch's hand on the helm is sublime, his style fluid and richly visual without smothering fine, layered performances from Bardem and Morante as the lovers caught up in a wave of South American terrorism. Despite sporadic bursts of violence, the film is carried along more by its underlying tension, exacerbated by the imposition of martial law and Bardem's character's inner struggles. A fine feature debut by the enigmatic JM and a shame he hasn't strayed again into the director's realm if this is the sort of mature entertainment he is capable of. Good stuff.
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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