Assassination Tango

In his first film as writer-director-actor since The Apostle, Robert Duvall effectively conveys his admiration for both the tango and his Argentinean girlfriend, Luciana Pedraza, whom he got to study the dance. He’s less effective in creating a story about an aging New York hit man (played by himself) sent to Buenos Aires on an assignment, a premise he apparently thought up as a commercial pretext for displaying his enthusiasms. (Pedraza, who’s never acted before, ironically plays the hit man’s tango instructor.) The thriller plot, while serviceable, registers as somewhat gratuitous, but the Buenos Aires locations are nicely used. With Ruben Blades and Kathy Baker. 114 min. (JR)

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