Tony Manero

Critics Consensus

Deliberately provocative, Tony Manero is as challenging and compelling as it is difficult to describe.



Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,166
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Movie Info

As Augusto Pinochet holds Chile in the grip of dictatorship, a 50-year-old man obsessed with John Travolta's character from Saturday Night Fever imitates his idol each weekend in a small bar on the outskirts of Santiago. Each weekend, Raúl Peralta and his friends -- a devoted group of dancers -- gather in a small bar and act out their favorite scenes from Saturday Night Fever. Raúl longs to become a showbiz superstar, and when the national television announces a Tony Manero impersonating contest it seems like he may finally have a shot at living his dreams. But as Raúl is driven to commit a series of crimes and thefts in order to reproduce his matinee idol's persona, his dancing partners (also underground resistance fighters who rail against the regime) are persecuted by the secret police. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Tony Manero

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (5)

  • Larrain's (literally) dark, edgy movie is a precise artistic commentary on Augusto Pinochet's miserable regime, which was 
under way while Travolta gyrated.

    Jul 22, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Larrain evokes the bleakness and oppressiveness of life in a police state with much subtlety even as he poses a much larger question about cultural imperialism.

    Jul 20, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Shot with a hand-held camera and presented in a fragmented scenario, Tony Manero is the director's compelling attempt to find parallels between the Pinochet reign of terror and Raúl's scruple-less antics.

    Jul 3, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A memorably claustrophobic evocation of its time and place, as well as a reminder that the so-called escape offered by pop culture can sometimes be an escape into soul-sucking madness.

    Jul 3, 2009
  • More than an indelible portrait of a sociopath with the soul of a zombie, Tony Manero is an extremely dark meditation on borrowed cultural identity.

    Jul 3, 2009 | Rating: 4/5
  • [Director] Larrain deftly employs a Dardennes-style in-the-moment handheld lensing, managing a high-wire act in which audience disgust is outpaced by breathless anticipation.

    Jul 1, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin B. Lee

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tony Manero

  • May 21, 2011
    Raul(Alfredo Castro) is a week early for the Tony Manero look-alike contest at the television studio because this week they are doing Chuck Norris. That's not the only sympton of his obsession as he also goes to see "Saturday Night Fever" every chance he can, plus putting on a show based on the movie. First, he needs a dance floor and even after finding the right material, he needs money. Otherwise, Raul watches an old woman get mugged, helps her home with her groceries, kills her, smokes a cigarette to calm his nerves, feeds the cat and steals her color television set. "Tony Manero" is a disturbing and sexually graphic character study. Raul is so single-minded(Which works against itself since it is difficult to gauge some of the other relationships in the movie at times) that he does not take notice of anything outside of his goal in Chile in 1980 where the police pay more attention to politics than actual crime. Despite Raul's psychosis and his appearing closer to a late model Al Pacino than a young John Travolta, he looks up to and identifies with Tony Manero, in seeing somebody who tries to escape his life of drudgery through dance.(If Raul is angry at "Grease," I don't want to think about how he would react to some of John Travolta's later movies.) In fact, "Tony Manero" and "Saturday Night Fever" both are similar in their critical attitudes about racism.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2010
    A compelling crime drama centered on a miserable sociopath obsessed with a movie character to the point of murder - which makes him also a surprisingly tragic figure -, relying on a gripping performance by Alfredo Castro and also making a subtle political commentary.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2010
    Riveting near mute central performance drives along this dark tale of obsession. Reading the central character's face and hoping things won't go as badly as you fear offer intrigue, and watching the final showdown is unbearably tense. An unheralded treat for those who like their cinema dark and disturbing.
    Gordon A Super Reviewer
  • Jul 18, 2009
    Tony Manero is Chilean Psycho. It's a terrifying drama, social commentary and a sports movie rolled together. Alfredo Castro gives a perfomance to remember as a murderous superfan of Saturday Night Fever. He watches the film religiously and practices the dance moves relentlessly. All this in hopes of being crowned the Chilean Tony Manero. Along the way he jumps his many hurdles by performing acts of murder. These are shot in a very matter of fact way. No nondigetic music to build the tension, just pure and brutal. It's a grim film and one that plays with the conventions of sporting dramas. Despite his deplorable nature, I couldn't help but cheer him on. The film also has a wonderful sense of humour. In a single shot, as Castro enters the cinema to see that Grease has taken the place of his favourite film, we are treated to a sudden sense of sadness for Castro, which is also hilarious and chilling. Hilarious because of his reaction to the film playing and chilling as we contemplate what he will do next. A beautiful disfigured film.
    Luke B Super Reviewer

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