|The Dancer Upstairs|
The story is fascinating, with layers of interest as a thriller, romance and political drama. Malkovich uses his camera superbly, capturing tiny details in scenes and characters, as well as making expert use of the setting (most of it was filmed in Ecuador, my home country, although the real story took place in Peru). Bardem is also excellent, quietly and subtly conveying Rejas' frustrations, confusions and dedication to the job. This is a man who has made very difficult choices in his life ... and has more to come. There are levels of suspense, romance and intrigue here, all of which weave together into the overall narrative. And the intelligent script has just enough humour to keep from taking itself seriously. There are a few false moments here and there, partly because the mostly Latino cast all speak English, but also because this is a film made by North Americans! And with all the lovely camera work, the film drags a bit. Jose Luis Alcaine's camera work is drop dead gorgeous, which is probably why Malkovich seems self-indulgent in his editing choices, letting scenes go on too long and stopping the story in the process. Even so, this is a stunning debut. And much more than the average political thriller.
dir John Malkovich|
scr Nicholas Shakespeare
with Javier Bardem, Juan Diego Botto, Laura Morante, Elvira Minguez, Abel Folk, Luis Miguel Cintra, Oliver Cotton, Alexandra Lencastre, Marie-Anne Verganza, Montserrat Astudillo, Lucas Rodriguez, Wolframio Sinue
release UK 6.Dec.02; US 2.May.03
Interrogation. Lt Rejas (Bardem) finds himself falling for his daughter's dance teacher (Morante)...
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