Robert Duvall, Luciana Pedraza, and Kathy Baker
Directed/written by: Robert Duvall
Tango is a beautiful film. The problem that keeps it from being
a great film is a meandering script that never fully develops.
Shame really because the great Robert Duvall wrote it. He also
directed it and stars in it. Frankly for his impeccable performance
as "John" (the Tango-ing hit man) the film's a keeper
for any fan of the craft. And what Assassination Tango lacks in
stitched storylines it almost makes up for in gorgeous Tango scenes.
Duvall and his crew have captured some stunning performances by
a number of Tango professionals and Duvall's wife, Luciana Pedraza,
who plays a Tango dancer and a love interest in the film.
Tango follows John J. (Robert Duvall) a mob hit man with a reputation
as a fixer of sorts. If you have a messy potentially hot hit-
you call this guy. John sneaks in virtually as a ghost of death,
silently whacks the prey, and disappears.
his longtime boss and friend Frankie (Frank Gio) needs a favor
down in Buenos Aires he reluctantly agrees. John's seeing a new
style of life since he met Maggie (Kathy Baker) and her daughter.
He's thinking now's the time to give up the biz and play daddy.
heads down to Argentina and promises the little girl he will be
back in time for her birthday
naturally he's not as things
don't quite go as planned. There's corruption in the corruption
and he's up to his eyeballs in human low lifes.
that's okay. Johnnie sneaks out while he waits to make the hit
and gets immersed in Tango. He meets a gorgeous Tango teacher
(Luciana Pedraza) and starts to live yet another life.
he ever just hit his target? Can we please have some action? Storylines
were dropped as if the filmmaker forgot he'd started them and
the mundane in this character became just that - mundane. Usually
slow films are a passion for me. Not this time.
Duvall has created homage to his favorite hobby, the Tango. The
story is riddled with so much Tango it often glides away from
any story structure and that's why, as beautifully shot and directed
as Assignation Tango is, it kind of falls flat. But the story
had so much potential if more emphasis was put on "Johnny"
and his obviously psychotic dueling personas, dancing a Tango
themselves in his brain, Duvall would have had the hit (no pun
intended) he deserved in the film.
Pedraza, who plays Tango teacher/performer Manuela, is not a professional
dancer but you wouldn't know it. She told me she worked hours
a day for a year to learn the Tango moves she makes look fluid
and down right easy. I wasn't as crazy about her acting - her
lack of experience definitely shows. Who knows maybe if she were
beside a lesser actor than Duvall - I mean you'd have to be pretty
darn good to shine when he's on the screen next to you...
was nice to see Kathy Baker show up as "John's" clueless
and trusting stateside gal pal. Her scenes were infuriatingly
small but at least Duvall knows talent when he sees it.
If you're a diehard Duvall fan - see this it's a very personal
film for him and as always his acting is perfect. His direction
also well done. It's his script - or at least the way this film
was cut - that is the real let down here.
Recommendation: Coffee - real strong