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The Dancer Upstairs (2002)

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

Director:

John Malkovich

Writers:

Nicholas Shakespeare (novel), Nicholas Shakespeare (screenplay)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Javier Bardem ... Agustín Rejas
Juan Diego Botto ... Sucre
Laura Morante ... Yolanda
Elvira Mínguez ... Llosa
Alexandra Lencastre Alexandra Lencastre ... Sylvina Rejas
Oliver Cotton ... Merino
Luís Miguel Cintra Luís Miguel Cintra ... Calderón
Javier Manrique ... Clorindo
Abel Folk ... Ezequiel / Durán
Marie-Anne Berganza Marie-Anne Berganza ... Laura
Lucas Rodríguez Lucas Rodríguez ... Gómez
Xabier Elorriaga ... Pascual
Natalia Dicenta ... Marina
Wolframio Sinué ... Santiago
Ramiro Jiménez 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:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain | USA

Language:

English | Quechua | Spanish

Release Date:

23 May 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sendero de sangre See more »

Filming Locations:

Ecuador See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

€100,224 (Spain), 22 September 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$106,142, 4 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,377,348, 21 August 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,227,348, 31 December 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Directorial debut of John Malkovich. 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

[first lines]
Indian 1 in Pick-up: [calmly after hitting road-side cop, about person on radio] Why does she talk so much?
Ezequiel: [equally calm] She's preparing to sing.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Pulp Fiction (1994) 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
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User Reviews

 
You must be able to dance in the political world!
10 June 2004 | by taxriceSee all my reviews

I would expect a movie directed by John Malkovich to be intense and specific. The Dancer Upstairs is that. It is a political movie that while popular in Europe, does not tend to draw well in the United States. Too bad.

The story tells the tale of a lawyer who has left the law looking for a better system. I don't know that becoming a police detective is that much better, but it serves the story. The story is set in a nameless Latin American country -- which also suits the story line.

Detective Lt. Agustín Rejas (Javier Bardem) has left a law firm where he was a junior partner, to join law enforcement -- with a conscious. He can give a break to a traveler whose papers are not quite right and he can be relentless in his pursuit of a terrorist.

Rejas has been victimized by the politics of his country. His father lost his coffee farm to the soldiers. His view of the judicial system has seen a rapist become president of the country. But still, Rejas finds joy in his beautiful dancer daughter and his wife -- who has a political mission of her own. Then he meets the free spirited dance instructor for his daughter.

Rejas works in a corrupt society where the fiscal corruption goes hand in hand with the moral and political corruption. The central government is all too ready to suspend civil rights and to put military law into effect. The military killing innocent people is fine as long as it suits the party.

Rejas attempts to live the just life and must deal with the corruption the best he can. This conflict is the heart of the movie. As he says, he has feelings about his father losing his farm and he is the Gary Cooper type.

Javier Bardem is excellent in the pivotal role. Juan Diego Botto does a very credible job as Detective Sgt. Sucre. Laura Morante is intoxicating as dance instructor focal point of the story.

I give this move a 9 for great story and suspense, excellent direction and fine acting. There is no sex and very brief nudity. The violence does tend to be horrific and there are depictions of cruelty to animals -- both central to the plot. This is far less than the typical Jason or Chainsaw movies gore.

I consider this an excellent direction debut for John Malkovich and look forward to his next feature film effort. It feels like Malkovich will fill a role similar to Robert Redford in films he has directed.


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