Owen Gleiberman
May 16, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Dancer Upstairs

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
135 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/02/03
performer
Javier Bardem, John Malkovich, Laura Morante, Wolframio Benavides, Juan Diego Botto, Elvira Minguez
director
John Malkovich
distributor
Fox Searchlight Pictures
author
Nicholas Shakespeare
genre
Drama

We gave it a B+

The first feature directed by John Malkovich is set in an unnamed Latin American country, and it has a mystery, and moral unease, that lingers. What looks at first like a terrorist cataclysm sinister enough to be science fiction is, in fact, the film’s version of the Shining Path movement that dominated Peru in the early ’80s. As the investigating police captain, Javier Bardem is placid yet implosive: a force of good who may not be forceful enough.

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