The film is adapted from crime writer Deon Meyer's novel and was directed by Meyer. I enjoyed the film for a few reasons. The lead, Louw Venter, was excellent. I identified with his personality and his challenges as he learned to dance. I loved the filmogephy of the Karoo, depicting a dry desert landscape with people leading simple unaffected lives.
I am not a movie critic so I will stop there and go on to talk about the tango. The tango danced in the movie is ballroom tango which is different to Argentine tango, the tango that I teach. Ballroom tango also has its roots in Argentina but was transported to Europe and North America in the early part of the last century and was incorporated into the ballroom suite of dances. Meanwhile, Argentine tango continued to developed in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. There were thus separately developing threads, both called "tango".
I have not studied ballroom tango, only Argentine tango so I am not able to comment on the authenticity of the ballroom tango danced in the movie. But I do have a little critique. Antoinette Louw, the protagonist who is dying from cancer and is teaching Venter to dance her last tango speaks about tango as a form of communication, a language, an emotion. I do not really think that these elements were conveyed in their acting or dancing which was obviously choreographed. The sentiment seemed forced, "pasted on", lacking depth In addition, the personal point of transformation from which Venter becomes a reluctant student to a willing participant in the tango was not revealed sufficiently in the script or the emotion of the dance. I do believe that partner dancing is transformative. It changes how we see ourselves and our power to connect with another. It takes a reckoning at a very deep level. This wasn't revealed in the movie.
Today, ballroom and Argentine tango are two totally separate dances that have different codes, steps and are danced to different music. Most people who have not travelled to South America associate tango with the ballroom version. Argentine tango is a relatively quiet, "internal" lead and follow social improvised dance that is danced to classical orchestras from the Golden Age of tango in the 1930s - 40s. For more information, take a look at these videos.
By the way, it is a great movie. It certainly satisfied the adrenaline junkie inside of me. I recommend it!