Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
The Dancer Upstairs DVD (2003)

John Malkovich fans will want to catch what we described as his "accomplished and ambitious directorial debut". Set in an unnamed South American country, it's up to policeman Javier Bardem to clean house in a land gripped by guerrilla terrorist fear. Javier cleans up too in the charm stakes on the DVD release, while Malkovich is as assuredly strange as ever.

Screengrab from The Dancer Upstairs DVD

Thoughtful And Funny

Malkovich and Bardem get together for what turns out to be a light and enjoyable commentary. Amongst the humour emerge many thoughtful comments on not only the making of the film but also the upsetting truth that inspired the project. As the extraordinary locations roll out before us, so do the stories in a movie made up of gruelling 21 hour shoots.

Let's Get Serious

Before you start enjoying yourself too much, the humour vacuum known as the Sundance Channel comes along with the featurette Journeys With John Malkovich. Following John on a drearily filmed trip to a mist-shrouded UK, the fog is clearly getting to his brain as he reveals he doesn't like to answer questions. The camera crew should have packed up there and then.

Better information is to be gleaned from the featurette Revealing The Dancer Upstairs, which has Nicholas Shakespeare offering a good analysis of the project, the facts that motivated him to write it, and what the movie represents of our world today.


  • Audio commentary with Javier Bardem and John Malkovich
  • Sundance Channel: Journeys With John Malkovich
  • Revealing The Dancer Upstairs featurette
  • This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.

    Technical Information

    2 Dolby Digital 5.1 Static 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
    28 English English
    English All of the special features come with subtitles 15

    End Credits

    Director: John Malkovich

    Writer: Nicholas Shakespeare

    Stars: Javier Bardem, Laura Morante, Juan Diego Botto, Elvira Mínguez, Alexandra Lencastre, Oliver Cotton

    Genre: Drama

    Length: 133 minutes

    Cinema: 6 December 2003

    DVD: 20 October 2003

    Country: Spain/USA