The directorial debut of John Malkovich, THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is a riveting political drama set in an undetermined Latin American city. A revolution has started, and the local police have been assigned to figure out who is leading it and what exactly the revolutionaries want. Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem) is the detective leading the investigation. However, with the military involved and corrupt government officials making Rejas’s job especially difficult, he faces constant frustrations. The leader of the revolution goes by the name Ezequiel, but the police cannot figure out his true identity. Even more beguiling are the increasingly violent terrorist incidents that appear to be carried out by children who swear their loyalty to Ezequiel with no explanation of why. Caught up in the middle of the revolution and Rejas’s investigation are his wife, his young daughter, and his daughter’s lovely ballet teacher, Yolanda (Laura Morante). One event after the next adds to the suspense and nagging anxiety felt by Rejas, until finally, with one shocking discovery, everything becomes frighteningly clear.
Combining a serious political drama with a tender and introspective look at a man in mid-life, THE DANCER UPSTAIRS has something for every viewer. Its scenes of violence and terror are offset with truly artistic and romantic moments, using excellent photography, striking sets, and graceful acting to bring cohesion to the duality of the plot.



December 06, 2002


John Malkovich


Nicholas Shakespeare


20th Century Fox


Drama, Thriller, Crime




132 minutes