The downfall of a Gospel minister from the big Church of the Living God in Texas to a little church in Louisiana called One-Way Road to Heaven, finally praising Jesus on a chain gang.
The imbricated structure hinges mainly on something like Lubin’s Impact, also there is Forbes’ Whistle down the Wind and Rosenberg’s Cool Hand Luke, even a connoisseurship stemming from Brooks’ Elmer Gantry.
This structure makes the filming very easy in its original perceptions, it speaks the lingo and is conversant with the spiritual dimension (Psalm 91:1, Ezekiel 16:6, John 3:34 and so forth).
Variety saw it at 148 minutes, wished it reduced by twenty, and got a quarter-hour off the release for such behavior.
It opens in Brooklyn, famous for its libraries, and travels to Buenos Aires for its tale of Borges. Gen. Rojas is the target, La Recoleta is seen, time is spent waiting, the assassin learns the tango in the neighborhood club where people go to dance it. After a lesson on the dance floor, he dreams of a black leopard.
The southern aspect is conveyed by the form, the city is seen only very gradually, the tango is introduced from a competitive angle as in Bertolucci’s film, the more intimate style is taught to the camera.
The Mafia hit man from New York is for hire, “no character references.” One supports the military, Rojas “went too far” in the Seventies and Eighties. The hit man doesn’t care.
There is a traitor in the ranks of his Argentinean clientele. He strikes in the morning instead of at sundown, face-to-face not from a rooftop. On the plane back home, he dreams of dancing the tango at his favorite club in Brooklyn.
Charles Walters’ The Barkleys of Broadway presents the notion of a New York style of dancing understood here in the opening scene. There is a very obscure reference to The Apostle in the modus operandi of a swift killing in a Brooklyn crowd.
Not one critic has read Borges, who wrote film criticism himself. Clive Donner’s Rogue Male has a certain similarity, among other films. The curious ironies and reflections of Assassination Tango are not seen to ripple, Duvall films the splash.