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The Dancer Upstairs [DVD]

3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: £5.37
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Product details

  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000TEVA6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,004 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The Dancer Upstairs
DVD ~ Javier Bardem
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Nicholas Shakespeare, who wrote the screenplay of his novel, establishes in the opening scene the conflict between the "common man" and the government in an unnamed Latin American country. Three adults, driving in their truck through the barren countryside, run down a soldier who tries to stop them at a checkpoint. At a later checkpoint, they indicate that the bloodstains on the car are from a dead dog. This imagery is further developed throughout the film--common people vs. authorized government, blood and the color red, and dead dogs, a symbol for those condemned to death.
Capt. Augustin Rejas (Javier Bardem), a lawyer turned policeman, is investigating a series of mysterious hangings of dogs, with signs affixed to their bodies, praising the mysterious Ezequiel, who may be inciting the countryside to a Maoist revolution. In further violence, dancers at an avant-garde performance kill a government official and his wife; a child blows himself up, killing more officials; and three mayors, eleven city councilors, and the Minister of the Interior are assassinated. Rejas, an honest man, struggles to investigate as the corrupt military, controlled by an equally corrupt president, threatens to impose military rule.
Directed by John Malkovich, the film is impressionistic, giving the audience fragments of the ongoing action but not a coherent picture, requiring the viewer to draw conclusions, just as Rejas and his assistants do, in an effort to solve the terrorist mystery. Since the dialogue is not always clear and the accents are strong, this is sometimes a difficult task. The cinematography (Jose Luis Alcaine), however, is dramatic and memorable, much of it focusing on architectural features--bridges, arches, jail cell bars, the bars of a fire escape, columns, balconies.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Acid eats at society's underpinnings 14 Jan 2006
THE DANCER UPSTAIRS is the perfect film for these times, when violence against societies comes less from declared wars between nation-states and more from shadowy international terrorist groups - or "freedom fighters", depending on your perspective.
Captain Augustin Rejas (Javier Bardem) is an officer in the police force that serves the capital of an unspecified Latin American country in the throes of an undeclared civil war. In the name of a mysterious "Ezequiel", random assassinations and bombings are being inflicted. Nobody is safe, from government officials in limos to common citizens on the street. In the most dramatic episode, teenage school girls gun down a general and his bodyguards. Yet no proclamation of revolution is forthcoming, and no group takes "credit" for the violence. Rejas is given command of an anti-terrorist team to track Ezequiel down before the army must be called in and martial law declared. The foundations of the society are being eroded as if by an invisible acid.
In the midst of the turmoil, Augustin continues to take his young daughter to her ballet lessons, which are conducted by Yolanda (Laura Morante), THE DANCER UPSTAIRS, who lives above the school.
This is a film that barely made it out of the art houses because it isn't a mass-appeal thriller. The audience sees no plethora of special FX, no edge-of-your-seat pursuits, and the plot twist, when it comes, is almost anticlimactic. And the hero, Rejas, is no Bond. He's just a regular guy, who trudges through his daily 9 to 5 and is vaguely dissatisfied with his marriage to a woman whose obsession is with having a nose job. His is a life approaching quiet desperation, and Yolanda is a spark that could perhaps rekindle a fire.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Delivered promptly- a film to think about
Published 17 days ago by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo performances from all concerned. John Malkovich's has done an...
A thoughtful performance from Javier Bardem makes this a total delight as a thriller and a multi layered film. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Arosfa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Maoist revolution turned trerrorist
In 2002 we are at the turning point of out understanding of what violence used for political objectives is: not revolution at all of any type, just plainly terrorism. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jacques COULARDEAU
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me
Slow and rather tedious for me however my friend enjoyed it and would recommend it .. .. .. .. ..
Published 17 months ago by heather macrae
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
complicated story, emotional and unusual. very different from the usual Hollywood stuff. X. Bardem is very serious about his job and does not quite give in to romance either. Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2011 by Calandra
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish
This is a very poor movie which I gave up on. It was obscure and very American neither of which appeals to me
Published on 14 Nov 2011 by Samson
1.0 out of 5 stars A Unpleasant and nasty violent film.
This film a is an art house film but it has a very unpleasant atmosphere to it .

I maybe missing something but I do n't recomend it.
Published on 28 Oct 2011 by Mr. Robert J. Bevan
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Bardems best.
This film is based loosely on Benedicto Junenez and General Antonio Ketin Vidals capture of Abimael Guzmanin Lima,Peru in 1992. Read more
Published on 5 Dec 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting and thought provoking film.
This is one will will stay in the mind as a film that stands out from the rest. Javier Bardem is brilliant as usual. Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2010 by Mrs. G. A. Sherwin
2.0 out of 5 stars very slow and hard to follow
this film was dissapointing........
it was so hard to follow for the first hour....... very slow getting going and being an animal lover i found it gross all the dead dogs... Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2010 by maria salsera
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