First, the good news. Robert Duvall is a terrific director and an amazing actor with an ear for accents, although he never totally abandons the persona of Robert Duvall.
Then, the bad news. ASSASSINATION TANGO is a depressing film noir that focuses on the sleazy underside of life and offers no hope whatsoever.
Robert Duvall plays John, an older assassin who is so vain that he’s ready to start a fight with a police detective when he believes the detective is insinuating that he has wrinkles. He is living with a woman who is not his wife and dotes on her daughter, the daughter he never had, named Jennie.
John is an expert assassin for a mediocre thug in Brooklyn. The thug sends him to Argentina to take a big job. He is told it’s only going to take three days, which is the only reason he agrees, because he wants to be back for Jennie’s birthday.
When he gets to Argentina, he finds out that things are more complicated than they should be. He is suspicious of his contact person, Miguel. Eventually he sets up his own address in a rooming house overlooking the hotel where he’s supposed to be staying. Sure enough, a group of men come to kill him.
While waiting to assassinate a high level general, John becomes enamored of the tango and starts taking lessons from a sultry woman named Manuela. He begins an affair with Manuela, but he also has a prostitute visit him on a regular basis. When the police question her, the only thing the prostitute knows about him is that he asks her to call him Daddy. Clearly, he has issues.
Throughout the movie, he tells people he never cheats on anything, but he is cheating on his common law family in the United States, and he is cheating on Manuaela, and the prostitute doesn’t matter.
John takes it into his hands to kill the general early. All the conspiracies break loose, people are imprisoned and shot, and John makes it back to New York.
An Argentine reviewer said Robert Duvall’s Argentine accent was wonderful. Duvall’s direction is immaculate, but the storyline, which is really just an excuse for featuring the tango, is so dark and bleak, with no redemptive elements, that one can only leave the theater depressed. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends you rent A SHOT OF GLORY, if you want a tough movie with redemptive moments, or Mr. Duvall’s movie THE APOSTLE, which is one of the great films of all time.
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SUMMARY: In ASSASSINATION TANGO, Robert Duval plays John, an older assassin who begins an affair with his tango instructor while he waits to assassinate a high level general. Duvall’s direction is immaculate, but the storyline, which is really just an excuse for featuring the tango, is so dark and bleak, with no redemptive elements, that one can only leave the theater depressed.
(Pa, H, C, LLL, VV, S, N, A, D, M) Eclectic pagan worldview with a cynical humanist perspective that nothing matters as well as some shots of Christian crosses and the immoral message that crime does pay; 36 obscenities; several point blank shootings, minor amount of blood, threats of violence; several instances of implied fornication, one with prostitute; upper male nudity; drinking; smoking; and, multiple sex partners, corruption, and deceit.
GENRE: Thriller/Film Noir