Naked Tango

Vincent D'Onofrio, Mathilda May, Fernando Rey

Directed by Leonard Schrader
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
August 23, 1991

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 recreates 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.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    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.


    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


    The Pack | 2006

    Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

    More Song Stories entries »