OscarÂ(r) winner* Robert Duvall writes, directs and stars in this "fascinating" (Roger Ebert) tale of dancing, deception and deadly passion on the sizzling streets of Argentina. Starring Ruben Blades, Kathy Baker and Lucia... more »na Pedraza, Assassination Tango is "part gritty crime thriller, part dance-driven romance, part evocative character study" (The Hollywood Reporter). Veteran hit man John J. (Duvall) has just received the toughest assignment of his career: Travel to Buenos Aires, take down a corrupt general and be back in America in less than three days. But when the hit is unexpectedly delayed, John finds himself prowling the city's intoxicating tango clubs only to be seduced by a sultry dancer (Pedraza), tempted by the tango and betrayed by a lethal conspiracy. *1983: Actor, Tender Mercies« less
Great dancing and music and a beautiful looking movie. However, the characters and story more like stereotypes than fully developed people.
A major actor's ego trip that could be worth viewing
David Thomson | Houston, TX USA | 04/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Duvall is among the greatest film actors of the last forty years. He fills the screen and it is virtually impossible for any other actor to upstage him. This films reminds me of the time when Richard Burton read off the names in a phone book---and the audience was held spellbound by the late thespian?s ability to make such a normally boring event seem wildly interesting. ?Assassination Tango? lacks coherence and is something of a rambling mess. And yet, I found the experience highly rewarding. Duvall is a director of modest talent. The movie is supposedly about a overage professional killer who must travel to Argentina to assassinate a retired general who is allegedly guilty of crimes against humanity. None of this ever makes any logical sense. But the dancing and the beautiful cinematography are exhilarating. Duvall has the extraordinary talent to turn meandering dialogues into riveting scenes. We are entranced by his character?s adoration of the girlfriend?s daughter. The flirtations between John J. Anderson (Duvall) and the gorgeous and significantly younger tango instructor Manuella (Luciana Pedraza) are poignant and even a bit touching. ?Assassination Tango? is definitely not for everyone. I give it four stars, and recommend it only to those who believe that great acting alone can salvage a less than well put together script. In many respects ?Assassination Tango? is nothing more than Robert Duvall?s grandiose ego trip. Nonetheless, it still might be well worth an evening of your time."
This is clearly an act of love for Duvall.
Mark Hammond | Chambersburg, PA USA | 04/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Duvall is one of the best actors of the late 20th Century. We are aware of Duvall's versatility in movies in everything from "The Godfather" and "The Apostle" to "Gods and Generals." Few people outside the tango community know that he is a passionate tango dancer. It is obvious that this production was an act of love. This movie will probably not go into general release at your local theater. I really expect it to have a limited release. Notwithstanding that, my advice to you is to see it even if you have to drive two hours [one way] to go to a theater as my wife and I did recently. It was really worthwhile.It is a movie that did not do well in the Toronto Film Festival in 2002. Because of that, certain portions of the film were re-shot in Buenos Aires. Even still, the movie provoked discussion on the Tango-L listserv. It has been criticized for its "weak" plot. I find the plot less complicated than Sally Porter's "Tango Lesson," and the style of dancing to be less of the "fantasy tango" style and more of the salon style that you see in Buenos Aires today. This movie will have definite appeal to milongueros and tango junkies, as well as some die-hard ballroom dancers.I loved the dancing in the movie, and I really wish there was more of it. A few years ago, I was pleased to have seen some of the people in the movie dance several years ago at Duvall's farm in northern Virginia. This is the kind of dancing I like. I would love it if there were a "director's cut" of this movie available soon. I would be the first to buy it."
Does not quite click
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 04/15/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Actor Robert Duvall apparently has a liking for the tango dance, and wanted to share his passion with the world via a film. However, perhaps he felt that something needed to be added to the storyline to reach a wider audience. Thus, as writer, director, and producer of ASSASSINATION TANGO, he added another plot - or is it a subplot? - about a professional killer hired for a South American wet job. Duvall plays John Anderson, an aging hit man in the employ of Big Apple mobster, Frankie (Frank Gio). The light of Anderson's life is 10-year old Jenny (Katherine Miller), the daughter of his significant other, Maggie (Kathy Baker). Though Jenny's birthday is the following week, John accepts an assignment in Argentina to whack a retired general. Frankie assures him that the job should only take three days - a quick down and back in time for birthday cake and presents. However, once in Buenos Aires, the hit is postponed, and John must cool his heels for three weeks. During that period, Anderson's anger over the delay dissipates as he discovers the tango. Or rather, as he re-discovers the tango, which is more structured and passionately choreographed in Argentina than the comparatively staid version back home. And it doesn't hurt that he becomes enthralled with tango dancer Manuela (Luciana Pedraza), who consents to give him lessons.It's not that ASSASSINATION TANGO is a bad film. Nothing with Duvall can be awful. But the bilateral plot didn't click. On one hand, it was never explained why the general needed killing beyond vague references to some terrible things he'd done in the past, presumably against Argentine innocents. That wasn't enough for me to cheer on Anderson's success in the endeavor beyond a laissez-faire goodwill that I would minimally grant the protagonist of any story. On the other hand, there never seemed to be much chemistry between John and Manuela. At one point early in their relationship, Anderson asks the young woman if he'd "have a chance" with her if he was younger. With a coy smile, Manuela answers that he has a chance now. It's a brief spark that fails to erupt into flames.Anderson is perhaps not one you'd want buying a prepubescent girl ice cream, though his conduct with Jenny is irreproachable and devoted. There are some murky corners to his character that go unexplored, as the encounter with an Argentine prostitute. Therefore, the best reason to see this film is the wonderful dancing. Assuming you're a tango fan, that is. If you're not particularly, then you might be reduced to ogling Pedraza's gorgeous legs to get back the price of the ticket. Not bad value, that."
Pedraza Alone Worth The Price Of The DVD
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 04/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I took a shot at buying this DVD sight-unseen, something I rarely do and usually regret, but not in this case. I found it even more fascinating than I hoped, thanks to a totally-unknown actress. Two viewings within a year has not changed my opinion. This movie is just different, a unique portrait of strange older hit-man and the people in his life. I am not surprised a number of viewers did not like this film, even fans of Robert Duvall. It's probably just too quirky for most tastes and too slow for most viewers. Despite being low- key, there are some moments of intense temper and violence on the part of Duvall which helps keep ones attention. I didn't need that, however, to keep my attention. Just trying to figure out Duvall kept me intrigued. My attention, however, accelerated when newcomer Luciana Pedraza entered the picture.
Pedraza is one of the most interesting "new faces" I've seen on film: a woman who has intelligence written over her face as few modern actresses ever have. This woman has a lot to offer: looks, intelligence, a good figure, a great dancer, wonderful voice and despite being Argentine, speaks better English than many Americans. A pity that to my knowledge, this is still her only screen appearance. Between her and Duvall - who are both complex characters to say the least - along with some wonderfully-colorful cinematography, great dance scenes and intrigue about how an assassination plot will turn out,
I found this film and the DVD - which is inexpensive - very pleasing.This is unknown film that isn't fully appreciated."
For tangueros and Duvall fans -- exceeded my expectations.
Mark Hammond | Chambersburg, PA USA | 12/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had previously reviewed the theatrical production of Assassination Tango when it was shown in theaters. I liked the movie so much that I ordered the DVD. The DVD arrived on Saturday, December 13th. It is obvious that I liked the movie. However, the DVD exceeded my expecations. First of all, the movie is there with picture and sound presentation. It is, of course, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. In addition, there are subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.In addition to the movie presentation, there is also a presentation of the movie with an audio commentary while the movie is being shown on a scene-by-scene basis by Robert Duvall and Luciana Pedraza. They comment on who the characters (personajes) are in the picture, the actors who played them including some facts about their lives, how the secene was shot and why the scene was shot in that manner, etc. As you know, the whole premise of the movie was to have a movie about Tango. The aspect of assassination and organized crime was just a way to tie an American who was not a tanguero into the action. You already know that Robert Duvall had been in the Godfather movies and that Francis Ford Copolla was involved both with the Godfather and with Assassination Tango. The audio commentary brings together some discussion of the mafia in New York into the development of John J. Minor characters in the movie included Reuben Blades, a Panamanian living in Los Angeles, Julio Oscar Pedroso, a Cuban actor, and Raul Outeada who had been an Argentine boxer (the equivalent of Frankie Gio). General Rojas, the general who was to be assassinated, was played by Elvio Nessier, an Argentine actor who has had a distinguished career in repertory theater.I was pleased to see some favorite tango people including Maria Nieves, Melina Plebs and Ezequel Farfaro, Carlos Copello, and Pablo Veron. I have had lessons with most of those people. We also noted seeing Adolfo (Jerry) Alonso and his wife Joji Alonso, who tangueros from Baltimore, in a background scene in a practica.In addition to the movie and commentary, there was a presentation on the music in Assassination Tango, including the original music written by Luis Bacalov, an Argentine expatriot living in Rome. Bacalov is best known for the music to Missa Tango, Tangosain, and the Academy Award for the music in "Il Postino."I liked the movie and would recommend it not just to tangueros. Some people are reluctant to buy a video even after they have seen the movie in a theater. I felt that the DVD offered me the ability to see more of the movie that I missed the first time and also gave me the additional "value added" feature of the commentary from Duvall and Pedraza, the omitted scenes, and the alternative ending."