The Dancer Upstairs 2002 R CC

Amazon Instant Video

(73) IMDb 7/10
Available in HD

This taut political thriller set in Latin America marks John Malkovich's explosive directorial debut. Academy Award winner Javier Bardem stars as legit policeman Agustin Rejas, who faces the greatest challenge of his career - to catch the leader of a terrorist movement threatening to collapse his government, while being stopped at every turn by his own corrupt superiors. As the fight becomes more ferocious, Rejas' search brings him ever closer to the guerrilla leader. But when, amidst the chaos, he falls in love with his daughter's ballet teacher (Laura Morante), Rejas must choose between his heart, his country, and his own well-being.

Starring:
Javier Bardem, Juan Diego Botto
Runtime:
2 hours 14 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

The Dancer Upstairs

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The Dancer Upstairs

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director John Malkovich
Starring Javier Bardem, Juan Diego Botto
Supporting actors Laura Morante, Elvira Mínguez, Alexandra Lencastre, Oliver Cotton, Luís Miguel Cintra, Javier Manrique, Abel Folk, Marie-Anne Berganza, Lucas Rodríguez, Xabier Elorriaga, Natalia Dicenta, Wolframio Sinué, Ramiro Jiménez, Montserrat Astudillo, Galo Urbina, Jairon Flores, Lam Chuen, José Antonio Izaguirre
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

The mother is reading from index cards we can't see, speaking in English.
Linda McDonnell
THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is a fine example of how films conceived and produced by this country can have all the qualities we honor (and hunger for) in foreign films.
Grady Harp
One of the most effective elements of this film is the music, or rather the lack of it.
Steven Reynolds

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Carol Toscano VINE VOICE on June 27, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though this movie is slow moving and quiet, it is one of the finest films I've seen in forever. Javier Bardem is amazing. No question. The music is spare but affecting (and one of the most memorable parts of this film). I don't want to give away any of the plot but this is a real thinker's love story (in the midst of a terrorist revolution-in-the-making backdrop), smart, brilliant, surprising in every way without gratuitous sex scenes and cheesy, predictable "happily ever after" endings. Malkovich is a genius. Bardem makes you feel his pain. A must see for any smart film lover. Can't recommend enough.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Danusha V. Goska on December 21, 2003
Many viewers simply didn't *get* this movie.
These are the folks who called it slow, too restrained, confusing.
For the thinking viewer, this movie is not slow, and it is not confusing. It is a visual feast that leaves the mind, and soul, reeling; it is a puzzle that stays unfinished just long enough to make its points, and then closes with a heartbreakingly poignant finale.
It is a tightly plotted, emotionally moving film that can be taken on several levels: as a political thriller, as a police procedural, as a meditation on the pleasures of domestic life v. extramarital passion.
Most powerfully, though, this film talks about, and parallels, explosions -- the explosions of art, of politics, of terrorism, and of passion -- v. restraint. The restraint, for example, of a good man trying to live a decent life in a broken world.
It's hard to talk about this film's most brilliant moments without giving away the whole plot, and that you don't want to do, because this movie's surprises are well worth it.
But one can say -- watch how Malkovich uses the color red. Watch how he uses bars, as if the bars of a cage, when shooting Javier Bardem. Notice parallels, including in a scene where a young girl dances before a series of reflecting mirrors. Note the music she dances to. Notice who is the sole person ever to have photographed a certain elusive terrorist.
Note references to Kant, most famous for his "Critique of Pure Reason."
No, this film is no art house puzzle. But it does offer more than the pure pleasure and visual excitement of a nail biting political thriller, which it offers as well.
It offers us food for thought about one of the biggest issues of the day -- terrorism.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2003
Format: DVD
THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is a fine example of how films conceived and produced by this country can have all the qualities we honor (and hunger for) in foreign films. Based on true events in the late 1980's in Peru, THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is adapted for the screen from the novel by the same name by the author - Nicholas Shakespeare. The story itself is one of extremes in terror, murder, heinous crimes, and all that is associated with terroist activities in a revolutionary framework. Yet Shakespeare has written a screenplay that focuses more on minds of his characters than on their acts. The 'revolutionary' is a professor of philosophy and his nemesis, tracing his identity and capture, is a thinking man's policeman - a lawyer who turned in his black robes to find a better way to discover honesty. Although Malkovich does not spare images that convey the atrocities (children as suicide bombers, slaughtered dogs hanging from the street lamps, mafia-style executions), he does not dwell on them but rather focuses on the impact on the mind of his lead detective. Javier Bardem is the lead actor here and surpasses his previous successes by demonstrating that he is a 'work in progress' - an actor who grows with every difficult assignment he encounters. His sidekick is well acted by Juan Diego Botto, an actor who knows the subtlties of 'supporting role'. The lead women actors, Laura Morente(as the dancer of the title) and Alexandra Lancastre (as Bardem's wife), are as subtle as they are beautiful, making us believe in the inevitable proof of Bardem's human frailty as he forges his imperturable trail toward justice.Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Galvin on April 6, 2005
Format: DVD
Augustin Rejas is a former attorney. Disillusioned, he has decided to join the police force in the hopes that he might obviate the rulings of a corrupt court system. Once he has established himself as an Investigator, he is ordered to assemble a small team and to look into a series of events that may or may not be the makings of united revolutionary activity. There are bombings, suicide bombings, assassinations, brown outs and other unmentionable acts of violence committed throughout this unnamed Latin American country. And the perpetrators are a seemingly random assembly of men, women and children, drawn, with no discernable criteria, from the indigenous poor, their Spanish-descended rulers and the buffering middle classes. The violence may occur at any moment, in any degree and from out of any direction; the tension is unbearable.

Inspector Rejas is a massive still presence. His principle investigative instruments are a fascination for fact, an impassive stare and an unrelenting deliberative nature. And with these, he does eventually determine the identity of the leader of this goalless revolution: a former university professor, known only as Ezekiel. But Ezekiel is an empty revelation: Rejas was never really looking for who but for why.

The Dancer Upstairs is commonly described as a political thriller--a misnomer that may dissuade you from recognizing it as a work of another and higher intellectual order. It is, rather, a meditation on the horror of things inexplicable. We are presented with a puzzling succession of events for which we, like Inspector Rejas, must provide an explicating narrative of some sort. Our motivation is the desire to repair the imbalance, to eliminate the random, violent variables that have wrecked our equation for the peace of meaning.
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