Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: As a Latin American nation nears collapse under a highly organized terrorist movement, idealistic policeman Agustin Rejas (Bardem) faces the greatest challenge of his career: to catch the mysterious guerilla leader Ezequiel. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    Patient and plodding -- but as realized by John Malkovich, in his directorial debut, utterly absorbing.
  2. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    80
    The film is powered by a superbly controlled performance from Javier Bardem. While it lacks economy and could have used a firmer hand in shaping the key central relationship, this intelligent, arrestingly sober drama packs a cumulative punch.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    Malkovich is more interested in hitting notes of elegiac lyricism than delivering socko action; this is a thriller that means to get under your skin rather than make you leap from your seat.
  4. The Dancer Upstairs would have made a suitable double feature with "The Quiet American"; both films unfold slowly, build toward an anxious climax and end with a shrug of grief.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Far from perfect but completely unique, the film could best be described as a paranoid South American metaphysical political thriller -- you heard me -- and whatever its failures, they're not ones of nerve or imagination.
  6. 50
    The movie fails at the primary steps of turning Rejas' mind inside out and dramatizing the contradictions in his heart and soul.
  7. 40
    Falters in small but important ways -– the suspense, carefully ratcheted up throughout, just plain goes busto in the film’s final moments -– while Malkovich stays resolutely behind the camera, a consummate professional who, this time, misses his mark by the merest of degrees.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4

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