.

Naked Tango

Vincent D'Onofrio

Directed by Leonard Schrader
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
September 27, 1990

Writer-director Leonard Schrader opens his film with a clip from the 1921 silent classic Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, showing Rudolph Valentino doing a sizzling tango. Dumb move. Schrader's take on the "dance of sex without love" can't compete. Though the film strikingly re-creates the Argentinian underworld in 1924, the lurid script has the depth of a travel brochure. Stephanie (Mathilda May) is bored with her life as the wife of an old-coot judge (Fernando Rey). On a cruise ship with her husband, she pretends to fall overboard but instead takes on the identity of a mail-order bride from Poland. What she sees as a momentary lark becomes a living hell when her groom, Zico (Esai Morales), sells her into white slavery. Forced to do the unspeakable, Stephanie is suicidal until she meets Cholo (Vincent D'Onofrio), a charismatic killer who's not into sex. Cholo tangos.

Credit the cast for saying their lines without laughing. May looks great in her Louise Brooks hairdo, but D'Onofrio (Mystic Pizza) seems to have arrived in Buenos Aires via Brooklyn; his authenticity stops with his hair wax. There's no confusing the erotic posturing of Naked Tango with the passion Schrader brought to his script for. Kiss of the Spider Woman. His debut as a director is merely a Dirty Dancing with pretensions.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Vicious”

    Lou Reed | 1972

    Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com