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The Dancer Upstairs (2002)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,157 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 71 user | 86 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

A police detective in a South American country is dedicated to hunting down a revolutionary guerilla leader.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Agustín Rejas
...
Sucre
...
Yolanda
...
Llosa
Alexandra Lencastre ...
Sylvina Rejas
...
Merino
Luís Miguel Cintra ...
Calderón
Javier Manrique ...
Clorindo
Abel Folk ...
Ezequiel / Durán
Marie-Anne Berganza ...
Laura
Lucas Rodríguez ...
Gómez
Xabier Elorriaga ...
Pascual
...
Marina
...
Santiago
Ramiro Jiménez ...
Sergeant Pisac
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Storyline

The story of Detective Agustin Rejas, a man clinging to the hope of an impossible love in an impossible world. Tracking Ezequiel, a delusional anarchist who incites the downtrodden masses to join in his brutal revolution against the fascist government in their unnamed Latin American country, Rejas finds solace in his sense of self-respect and the joy that his daughter and wife bring him. Then he meets Yolanda--his daughter's soulfully beautiful ballet teacher--a woman who sparks his long-forgotten passions and represents all that is good and all that is corrupt in their troubled country. But she, who appears to be a shelter from the storm, may in actuality be the storm's eye. Ultimately, as the revolution intensifies and the net closes around hunter and hunted alike, the dancer's truth will prove as elusive as the revolutionary's cause and the detective's peace. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An honest man caught in a world of intrigue, power and passion.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 September 2002 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Sendero de sangre  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$106,142 (USA) (2 May 2003)

Gross:

$2,374,732 (USA) (15 August 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The depiction of the dogs hanging was based on an actual occurrence where several dogs were found hanging from street lights in central Lima one December morning with profane messages denouncing Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (who Guzman thought had betrayed the communist revolution). The dynamite inserted into the dogs' bodies was based on rumors that the hanging dogs may have contained explosives, though no explosives were actually found on the dogs when they were cut down. See more »

Goofs

In the garbage scene, soon after the Marxism book is mentioned, the female cop changes positions in between shots. See more »

Quotes

[Rejas and Sucre are looking at a dead dog hanging from a lamp-post, with dynamite stuck down its throat]
Sucre: What sort of a person would do that?
Agustín Rejas: I don't know, but I wouldn't entirely rule out a cat-lover.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers would like to thank ... the residents of Narcisos Street ... See more »

Connections

Featured in Revealing 'The Dancer Upstairs' (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Cygne
(1886)
from "Le Carnaval des Animaux"
Written by Camille Saint-Saëns (as Camile Saints-Saëns)
Performed by Mischa Maisky and Martha Argerich (as Marta Argerich)
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon
See more »

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User Reviews

imperfect but intriguing crime drama
3 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Actor John Malkovich makes an auspicious directorial debut with `The Dancer Upstairs,' an intriguing, if not altogether satisfying, police procedural set in an unnamed Latin American country.

Javier Bardem (`Night Must Fall') gives a richly textured performance as Detective Augustin Rejas, a man of principle and ethics operating in a world of corruption and violence. Rejas finds himself embroiled in a life-and-death mystery when he investigates an underground terrorist organization that is targeting key government officials for assassination. Who these people are is not at all clear to those in charge and even their motives can only be guessed at. As Rejas studies the clues in search of answers, he becomes drawn to a beautiful young dance teacher with whom he establishes a platonic yet highly charged romantic relationship. It is in the bringing together of these two seemingly disparate plot lines that the movie fails, ultimately, to satisfy. For roughly the first three quarters of the film, as Rejas collects his evidence and unravels the puzzle, we gladly go along where the filmmakers are taking us, fascinated by the setting, the atmosphere and the contemporary relevance of the terrorism theme. But when, towards the end, the story kicks into high tragedy mode, the movie loses us, partly because the plotting itself is not particularly credible and partly because the relationship between Rejas and the woman has not been sufficiently developed to achieve the status of genuine tragedy. The film is much better when it sticks to the business of the case and leaves all the existential navel-gazing out of the mix.

This is not to demean either the moving, beautifully modulated performance of Bardem or the stark, self-assured direction of Malkovich, who shows he knows how to function as well behind the camera as he does in front. True, the film is a trifle slow at times but this just shows that Malkovich will not be rushed when the material itself demands deliberation and care. Although the movie is about a half hour too long, real languor begins to set in only during the final stretches. Until then, `The Dancer Upstairs' makes for rewarding viewing.




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