The Dancer Upstairs (2002) torrent download

The Dancer Upstairs

2002

Crime / Drama / Thriller

6.9

Synopsis

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.

Director

John Malkovich

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by eht5y 8 /10

An Actor's Showcase and an Excellent Thriller

'The Dancer Upstairs' marks John Malkovich's debut as a film director, but it's hardly his first time in the director's chair: Malkovich was a charter member of the now-prestigious Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago, where he split time between acting and directing, developing the versatility that has earned him regard as one of the best character actors in the business. He brings a stage director's consciousness to this fine, unexpectedly suspenseful and complex thriller, a fictionalized dramatization of events surrounding the rise and fall of the Shining Path revolutionary movement in Peru.

In the lead role of Detective Augustin Rejas is Javier Bardem, already an established star in his native Spain who is gaining increasingly wide notice in the US for his award-winning turns in Julian Schnabel's 'Before Night Falls' (2002) and Alejandro Amenabar's 'The Sea Inside' (2004). Bardem, like Malkovich, is a wonderfully versatile actor, and this film offers him another fine opportunity to display his range as Rejas, an idealistic police detective who abandoned a promising career as a trial lawyer in the hope that he might be able to work within the system to heal the corruption of his native country (left unnamed, though the story clearly borrows from actual events in Peru).

The film opens on the high plains at the foothills of the Andes, with Rejas working at a highway checkpoint station. He encounters a vehicle bearing a mysterious undocumented passenger. While Rejas follows procedure, his colleague accepts a bribe, and allows the vehicle to flee the scene.

Years later, Rejas has advanced through the ranks and now works as a detective in the nation's coastal capital. He and his partner Sucre (Juan Diego Botto, making the most of a small role) gradually begin to discover evidence of a burgeoning revolutionary movement led by the enigmatic 'Presidente Ezequiel,' whom Rejas eventually realizes to be the same man he met briefly years earlier at the mountain checkpoint. The followers of Ezequiel--a former college professor and Marxist who went underground ten years earlier to foment a 'fourth wave' of communist revolution (the first three being the USSR, China, and Cuba)--begin to terrorize the capital and outlying regions with suicide bombings and brutal assassinations. Rejas must uncover the secret of Ezequiel before the President enacts martial law and turns the government into another version of the brutal dictatorships previously seen in Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

As the Ezequiel mystery deepens, Rejas begins to develop an infatuation with his daughter's ballet instructor, Yolanda (Laura Morante), with who he shares an unspoken bond and who seems to be an attractive alternative to his own wife (Alexandre Lencastre), a sweet but superficial woman who obsesses over fashion magazines and makeup and begs her perpetually broke husband to let her get a nose job. Rejas begins to court Yolanda, and as he becomes more deeply involved with her, he begins to discover evidence that she may be knowingly or unknowingly connected in some way to Ezequiel.

The political dimension of the story is fascinating, but the main source of conflict is the interior world of Rejas, a sensitive, morally decent man who is torn between his faith in the law and his sympathy for the people who suffer at the hands of corrupt government officials. Rejas is also torn between his sense of honor and decency and his profound emotional attraction to Yolanda. It's a tough role to pull off, and Malkovich gives Bardem the time and opportunity to draw the character's emotional complexity with subtle, patient, expressive moments and line deliveries. Bardem has the rare ability to convey distinct emotions or states of thought with subtle gestures and nuanced facial expressions, and Malkovich demonstrates an actor's trust in another gifted actor to accomplish the film's emotional subtext.

There are a few problems here and there. Rejas' attraction to Yolanda is understandable, but their burgeoning relationship feels a bit forced and underdeveloped at times. A subplot involving the Chinese embassy is introduced but left more or less unresolved. The plot is vaguely predictable, though, in the film's defense, the suspense has more to do with how Rejas will deal with the revelations his investigation will uncover than with what will actually be revealed.

Even with the flaws, 'The Dancer Upstairs' is a highly intelligent and entertaining film, and offers yet another opportunity for American audiences to become acquainted with the fabulously talented Javier Bardem, who is my pick to be the next Marlon Brando.

Reviewed by Philby-3 N/A

Plod got there in the end - no fancy steps required

I suppose this could be described as an off-Hollywood detective story with political overtones. It is based on a book by Nicholas Shakespeare (a part-time Australian) who has in turn loosely based his story on the rise and fall of the `Shining Path' or Sendero Luminoso insurgency in Peru (1980-1995). As rendered on film (Shakespeare also wrote the screenplay), we have an immensely likable policemen, Rejas, played to perfection by Javier Bardem, literally searching through the rubbish to find the shadowy Ezequiel, leader of a movement with a fine record of atrocities, but no program or real philosophy.

Nicholas, alas, is no Shakespeare, and the film becomes very slow in parts, though there are plenty of dramatic moments and some crisp editing. Bardem gets good support from some of the other actors such as Juan Diego Botto who plays his sidekick Sucre and Laura Morante as Yolanda the enigmatic ballet teacher he becomes involved with. Most of the cast are Spanish but the prodution was filmed in English, which has created an intermittent audibility problem. The film is also beautifully shot, the locations in Ecuador and Oporto, Portugal, being used to great advantage.

While the film succeeds quite well as a detective story it telegraphs too many punches to work as a thriller. However it's the politics that really let it down. Clearly, we have a not very nice, if elected, government under attack, and it's almost inevitable that the even more not very nice Army is going to step in. Against who? People who load up dogs with dynamite and send them in to crowded marketplaces. People who send in 10 year olds into village cafes to blow up themselves along with some local notables. The explanation for this comes only in one-liners such as `I am already dead, I live only for the revolution.' When Ezequiel, the former philosophy lecturer is finally captured, all he can say is `You cannot capture this ` (tapping his forehead). `We are already part of history.' Surely there is a better explanation for `Shining Path' than this. My own theory is that it is a rather nasty combination of French post-modern philosophy (Derrida, Foucault etc) mixed up with Marxism and Maoism and served up to people with not much to lose. If you are already dead you might as well die for the revolution. It's either that or slave for the whites.

Actually, `Shining Path' had some competition in the shape of Tupac Amaru, who captured the Japanese Embassy in Lima and held 70 or so people hostage for over 4 months in 1996-97, until being overwhelmed by Peruvian commandos who tunnelled in beneath them. None of the guerrillas survived. By the time I visited Lima and the Cuzco area in late 2000 all was quiet on the revolutionary front, though President Fujimori, hero of the embassy siege, despite having won a recent election was on his way out. I haven't read it yet, but I'm told Gustavo Gorriti's `The Shining Path: A History of the Millenarian War in Peru' is a good history of the era.

Maybe it's asking too much for political explanations, though the director clearly wants the film to be compared with Costa-Gravas' excellent `State of Siege' (which is shown briefly at one point and provides a vital clue as to Ezequiel's location). As to the direction, Malkovich seems a little uncertain whether he is making a thriller or something more reflective but he has a good sense of dramatic timing and a good visual sense. Perhaps more attention to the editing would have sharpened up the mood.

Reviewed by taxrice 9 /10

You must be able to dance in the political world!

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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