6.1/10
551
19 user 8 critic

Naked Tango (1990)

When a young European woman assumes a false identity in 1920s Argentina, she gets more than she bargained for.

Director:

Leonard Schrader
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Cholo
Mathilda May ... Alba / Stephanie
Fernando Rey ... Judge Torres
Tony Payne Tony Payne ... Waiter
Henry Holmes Henry Holmes ... Passenger
Anthony Pratt Anthony Pratt ... Ship's Captain
Dodi Scheuer Dodi Scheuer ... Immigration Officer
Esai Morales ... Zico Borenstein
Cipe Lincovsky ... Mama
Josh Mostel ... Bertoni the Jeweler
Sergio Lerer Sergio Lerer ... Fake Rabbi
Patricio Bisso Patricio Bisso ... Gaston the Hairdresser
Constance McCashin Constance McCashin ... Flora
Marcos Woinsky Marcos Woinsky ... Big Thug
Rubén Szuchmacher Rubén Szuchmacher ... Small Thug
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Storyline

Returning by ship to South America, a young girl escapes her elderly husband by swapping places with a girl committing suicide. She believes her new life will be that of an arranged marriage but finds it is in fact a trick to get her working in a brothel. . Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She never dreamed she could hate a man so much. And love him even more.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

Switzerland | Argentina | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1991 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Gymno tango See more »

Filming Locations:

Argentina See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gotan,Grupo Baires,Jade M See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Hurt was considered for the role of Cholo, but pulled out, and Esai Morales was in line for the role before being cast as Zico. See more »

Quotes

Cholo: The REAL you belongs to me.
See more »

Connections

Features The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Last tango in Buenos Aires
12 May 2015 | by tomsviewSee all my reviews

"Naked Tango" makes for a fairly surreal experience. It has the exaggerated gestures and emotions of a silent film or grand opera. Despite gaps in logic you could perform a tango corrida through, the pace and energy of the film doesn't give you time to dwell on them.

On a ship heading to Argentina during the 1920's, Stephanie (Mathilda May), a woman bored by her marriage to the wealthy, much older Judge Torres (Fernando Ray), takes the identity of a young woman she sees jump overboard.

Stephanie more than spices up her life when as Alba, a young Jewish girl from Poland, she finds herself in an arranged marriage to Zico Borenstein (Esai Morales), a member of the Zvi Migdal. This is an organisation of pimps on the grand scale, which tricks women into prostitution. After attracting the attention of Choro, an Argentinean gangster played by Vincent D'Onofrio, events head off in unexpected directions, all swept along by the music and the mystique of the tango.

The stars make this film, and the stunning Mathilda May makes believable all the obsessive attention she receives from the males in the movie. I remember her spectacularly uninhibited performance in the otherwise forgettable "Lifeforce". Here she dances the tango of the film's title to the music of a blindfolded orchestra without any discernible loss of poise.

Vincent D'Onofrio gives an eye-popping performance, but it fits seamlessly with the theatricality of the whole thing. I wouldn't be the first person to notice his resemblance to Orson Welles (he's actually played him in a couple of movies) but here, half hidden in the shadows with the brim of his hat pulled down, he is uncannily like Harry Lime in "The Third Man".

Esai Morales and Fernando Ray wisely underplay, leaving the fireworks to May and D'Onofrio. Fernando Ray is perfect as Stephanie's real husband who realises too late that wealth, position and comfort are not enough to keep his beautiful wife away from the machismo of the dangerous Choro.

This is the second film I can recall that featured the Zvi Migdal. It was the driving force behind the plot of Jonathan Demme's underrated Hitchcock homage, "The Last Embrace", but in that film it is only alluded to, here it is front and centre.

"Naked Tango" has great locations, sumptuous sets, an arresting story, and a couple of stars that burn up the screen. When all is said and done, the title of the film is a good warning as to whether or not you are likely to enjoy this film - it's nothing less than an invitation to a dance on the wild side.


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