Assassination Tango is about reclaiming one's soul through the innocence and wonder of a child. It is about the preoccupation with our self-image and the ability of some of us to be both ruthless and loving, amoral yet touched by innocence and art. Duvall, who wrote, starred in and directed this movie, wants to convey the transcendental power of the tango. Unfortunately, the film fails to get under the skin of its characters or its sketchy social commentary. It resonates more like a feeble soft-shoe number than an intense dance with life and death.
While the examination of the world of the Tango in Argentina is interesting, especially if you love dancing, the vehicle used is a banal "a hitman goes native for a while, but gets to go home again" theme. The script is flawed and the movie ends with lots unresolved.
The photography in both Brooklyn and Argentina contains many scenes of breathtaking beauty. Duvall's scenes with Luciana Pedraza ( Manuela) are magical ,as are the sequences involving her teaching Mr. Duvall to tango. Geraldine Rojas as Pirucha delivers a beautiful speech on the relationship of tango to life. There's a slight romance, but even though Duvall and Pedraza are real-life lovers, their onscreen chemistry is negligible, and too much of the film's thematic exploration of tango is delivered in clumsy and didactic dialogue sequences instead of blistering action on the dance floor.
In the last act, it heats up as a thriller, with the usual double-crosses and hairbreadth escapes, but it's such a poor job of storytelling that through the entire finale it's impossible to figure out what is happening, who the various gangland players are, who is killing whom, and why.
Recommended rental, maybe, but not something I'd really watch more than once.