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The Dancer Upstairs Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

The Dancer Upstairs

Rated R for strong violence, and for language.

R In Theaters 05/2/2003 , 133min.
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Plot & Details

Actor John Malkovich made his directorial debut with this tense political thriller, set in an unnamed Latin American nation and based on a novel by Nicholas Shakespeare. Agustin Rejas (Javier Bardem) is a former lawyer who became a police detective as a more direct way of dealing with crime and justice. Rejas has been assigned to investigate a group of terrorists who are determined to up-end the current government through any means necessary, from revolting pranks (such as leaving dead animals, painted with revolutionary rhetoric, around the capitol building) to bombings and assassinations. Rejas knows little about the terrorists, and no one on the force is certain of the identity or whereabouts of the group's leader, who calls himself President Ezequiel. As Rejas learns more about Ezequiel and his group, they begin stepping up their actions, making his investigation all the more urgent. Meanwhile, Rejas is a man whose daughter is taking dance lessons from Yolanda (Laura Morante); as Rejas and Yolanda get to know one another, a romance begins to grow between them, but in time, Rejas begins to suspect that the woman he loves is working with the terrorists he's been trying to ferret out.

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