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The Dancer Upstairs

  • R
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • The directorial debut of John Malkovich, THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is a riveting political drama set in an undetermined Latin American city. A revolution has started, and the local police have been assigned to figure out who is leading it and what exactly the revolutionaries want. Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem) is the detective leading the investigation. However, with the military involved and corrupt government officials making Rejas's job especially difficult, he faces constant frustrations. The leader of the revolution goes by the name Ezequiel, but the police cannot figure out his true identity. Even more beguiling are the increasingly violent terrorist incidents that appear to be carried out by children who swear their loyalty to Ezequiel with no explanation of why. Caught up in the middle of the revolution and Rejas's investigation are his wife, his young daughter, and his daughter's lovely ballet teacher, Yolanda (Laura Morante). One event after the next adds to the suspense and nagging anxiety felt by Rejas, until finally, with one shocking discovery, everything becomes frighteningly clear.

    Combining a serious political drama with a tender and introspective look at a man in mid-life, THE DANCER UPSTAIRS has something for every viewer. Its scenes of violence and terror are offset with truly artistic and romantic moments, using excellent photography, striking sets, and graceful acting to bring cohesion to the duality of the plot.
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    • Rating - strong violence and language
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2008829

  • Credits
    Javier Bardem, Laura Morante, Oliver Cotton, Luis Miguel Cintra, Abel Folk, Juan Diego Botto, Elvira Minguez, Alexandra Lencastre, Marie-Anne Berganza
  • Critic Reviews
    "...Malkovich is more interested in hitting the notes of elegiac lyricism than delivering socko action; this is a thriller that means to get under your skin..."
    Premiere

    "...A worthy effort because Mr. Malkovich proves his devotion to actors....A gripping story....His trademark confidence is displayed by his insistence on a slowed rhythm to demand audience attention..."
    New York Times

    "...It has an elusive, haunting quality..."
    USA Today

    "...THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is elegantly, even languorously, photographed by Jose Luis Alcaine....[The film] moves with a compelling intensity toward its conclusion..."
    Chicago Sun-Times

    "...John Malkovich makes an elegantly stylized debut....Delicate and devastating..."
    Rolling Stone

    "...[A] pleasurably nerve-jangling thriller....[Malkovich is] as much a natural behind the camera as in front of it..."
    Los Angeles Times

    "...A discriminating directorial debut....It's the intricate plot -- which quietly examines a torn man's rectitude -- and Bardem's vibrant performance that leave an indelible mark..."
    Entertainment Weekly

    "...[The film] has an elusive haunting quality few movies these days have..."
    USA Today

    "John Malkovich makes a thoughtful directorial debut with this intelligent political thriller..."
    Total Film

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