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editors review
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the dancer upstairs

John Malkovich directs his first feature.

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Actor John Malkovich slips behind the camera for the first time with this, and frankly there are few surprises. That’s not wholly a bad thing – as you’d expect from Malkovich the cultured aesthete, his taste is impeccable in terms of casting, shot composition and source material. The story, based on a book by Nicholas Shakespeare, is a political cop movie with a romantic subplot. The ever excellent Javier Bardem plays a stalwart detective on the trail of a South American terrorist organisation fronted by a faceless man known as Ezequiel.

But it also might not come as a shock to learn that there’s a certain self-importance and self-indulgence to the picture. It’s as if Malkovich was so confident in his decisions, so in love with the glorious images he was capturing, that he couldn’t bare to lose anything. Tantalizingly, there’s a lean political thriller in there somewhere, but it’s obscured by layers of unnecessary padding. Wendy Ide 05 December 02

The Dancer Upstairs, released 09 December 02.

reviews roundup
BBCi Films:
...Bardem is outstanding as the straight-arrow Rejas...
more

Film Four:
...there are no clichés in Malkovich's atmospheric setting...
more

Empire Magazine:
...almost unbearably suspenseful...
more

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