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Assassination Tango

Released: 2002

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 1 hr 53 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Robert Duvall

Starring: Robert Duvall, Rubén Blades, Kathy Baker, Luciana Pedraza, Julio Oscar Mechoso, James Keane, Frank Gio

It is a drama thriller based in the steamy side of Argentine tango.

The long tango scenes in the film are among the most beautiful ever shot.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

John J. Anderson (Robert Duvall) is a man who pays a lot of attention to detail, taking real pride in his craft. When we first see this 70-year-old gentleman with a small, salt-and-pepper ponytail, he is impeccably arrayed with a silk dress shirt and a gold chain around his neck. Anyone suggesting that he might suffer from -- shhhhh -- wrinkles is quickly reprimanded. But John is Mr. Cool when it comes to his work and his personal life, which he constantly lives to the fullest. The only thing that manages to rile John is getting trapped out of town on a business trip to Buenos Aires on the birthday of the daughter (Katherine Micheaux Miller) of his live-in girlfriend (Kathy Baker).

What exactly is John's business? Murder. A professional hit man, he is in Argentina to whack an old general. Although Miguel (Ruben Blades) and some of the locals explain what a bad guy the general is or, more precisely, used to be, John tells them politely but firmly that he is there only for the money. He doesn't care about politics at all.

ASSASSINATION TANGO is another exquisite film written and directed by Duvall (THE APOSTLE). A character study and a tone poem, it is an elegantly crafted picture whose slow and deliberate rhythms will either enchant you or put you to sleep. There is no middle ground.

In addition to the fascination of watching John cope with the trials and tribulations of killing of a famous figure in a foreign country, the movie provides one other major delight. As John hangs around waiting for the right time to kill the general, he meets Manuela (Luciana Pedraza), a gorgeous and extremely talented tango dancer. The long tango scenes in the film are among the most beautiful ever shot. Opening the press notes, I expected to read about Pedraza's lifelong training as a tango dancer. Instead, it said that the tango didn't cross her path until six years ago when she met Duvall in Buenos Aires, and he introduced her to the tango.

In a movie in which it is hard to pick a favorite aspect, I'm going to go with the long dance numbers as the best part. They are magical moments of sheer joy.

ASSASSINATION TANGO runs 1:53. The film is in English and in Spanish with English subtitles. It is rated R for "language and some violence" and would be acceptable for teenagers.