The Dancer Upstairs

Another one the critics loved and I thought I would too. A strange choice of material for the directorial debut of such a distinguished actor as John Malkovich.

It's an unnamed South American country mired in corruption and falling deeper down the slippery slope of terrorism, and an honest lawyer-turned cop (Bardem) is charged with tracking down the culprits until panic reigns and the military steps in and takes over.

At the same time, he's falling in love with his daughters' beautiful dancing teacher, a subplot that holds a very tenuous connection with the backdrop of political intrigue. It's hard to know which story you're supposed to be responding to more, as neither really hit very hard. As a drama, too quiet and emotionally understated, and as a thriller, not exciting enough.

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