Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    The movie is not quite successful. It is too secretive about its heart.
  2. 75
    Like "The Apostle," it exists off the beaten path and will not satisfy mainstream viewers. Yet, for those who do not demand a firm adherence to formulas and genre-driven expectations, this movie offers the chance to see something a little different.
  3. 50
    Duvall missteps in trying to mesh suspense with a love story that also involves the woman (Kathy Baker) John J. lives with and her young daughter (Katherine Micheaux Miller), on whom he disturbingly dotes.
  4. 50
    The most interesting parts of the movie are the long, sexy and well-staged dance sequences, some of them involving a very nimble Duvall.
  5. At heart, ridiculous -- ludicrous in its conception and silly in its spectacle.
  6. Acting doesn't get more personal, or much greater.
  7. The story line is frustratingly haphazard, spreading out in several directions without ever focusing on one.
  8. Duvall at his worst is still an accomplished performer; Pedraza is a modern-day Ali McGraw, lithe and beautiful but no kind of actress. For all her fluidity on the dance floor, she's a dead weight who drags the film down.
  9. If Mr. Duvall's finely textured performance is a testament to the power of good screen acting to lift a film above the mundane, the movie's many irritating tics demonstrate that he is much more at home in front of the camera than behind it.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Since its maker is one of the least vain of Hollywood actors, it's one that is worthy of indulgence and respect.
  11. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    An odd little thriller that celebrates, in order of importance, Mr. Duvall, tango and his real-life significant other, Luciana Pedraza, who makes her attractive debut as a screen actress and, yes, tango dancer.
  12. The willingness to blend professionals and nonprofessionals is Duvall's most interesting directorial trademark. Most commercial filmmakers hesitate to use this technique, but he doesn't see it as risky.
  13. A wonderfully crafted, smartly acted study of a complex old coot.
  14. A wonderfully eccentric piece of filmmaking -- to demand it cohere to formula would be to miss the point.
  15. The thriller plot, while serviceable, registers as somewhat gratuitous, but the Buenos Aires locations are nicely used.
  16. 67
    Disconnected and even disoriented, Assassination Tango is an atmosphere in search of a reason.
  17. The movie is an odd mix of tones and styles, and the thriller plot is casually introduced, shoved aside and reintroduced. But, like all Duvall's work, Assassination Tango breathes with humanity.
  18. As a thriller it's dull and incomprehensible; as a romance it's empty and emotionally uninvolving; and as a character study it's strangely repulsive.
  19. Someone forgot to remind Duvall to write an ending.
  20. 50
    A supremely unhurried filmmaker, Duvall lets the story meander sleepily en route to a conclusion as ho-hum as everything preceding it.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    There isn't any kind of dance you can compare to Robert Duvall's latest as an actor/director, though a slo-mo minuet might come close.
  22. 50
    The plot is slow and absurdly contrived, and if you're looking for a thriller, look elsewhere. If you love dance movies, Assassination Tango is worth a go.
  23. Duvall is a great actor in the homestretch of a great career; it's hard to hold this trifle against him, and certainly nobody will.
  24. Dramatically lopsided, Assassination Tango is a spontaneous life-slice in which John J. (standing in for Duvall) fumbles like a besotted granddad toward empathic connections. That it doesn't "work" is a measure of its sincerity.
  25. 50
    Assassination Tango offers little heat. In dancing with death, Duvall stumbles a few too many times.
  26. A series of disconnected scenes alternating between two story lines, neither of which is cogent or concluded. The picture is tinged with the irrational.
  27. Assassination Tango is Duvall's fourth, yet it still feels like a first film; worse yet, it feels like a waste of an undeniably great actor.
  28. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    On just about every level -- as a thriller, as a romance and as a character study of a complicated man nearing the end of his professional life -- the film fails, and the meandering, sub-Cassavetes approach is likely to be a turnoff for all but the most indulgent viewers.
  29. 50
    With its clumsy storytelling and lack of someone to filter Duvall's gushiness about the subject matter, Assassination Tango winds up shooting itself in its own dancing feet.
  30. Assassination Tango is about one commanding performance, fascinating to watch but not strong enough to redeem the muddled story line on which it hangs.

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