What a great film! The Criterion Collection 2-disc set includes excellent bonus tracks, including an account of the decades-long & ultimately successful quest to declassify documents, comments by actors Gabriel Byrne & Sissy Spacek about the impact of the film on their *awareness* as actors & human beings, and director Costa-Gavras personal views of his film as being about a father's growing awareness of and respect for his son, despite their deeply held differences. The coup in an unnamed country (Chile 1972) serves merely as a backdrop to that journey of discovery of self & son, masterfully portrayed by Jack Lemmon. Watch - please watch!
A great book to read along with this movie is The Pinochet File, by Peter Kornbluh, which uses declassified files to fully explain what happened to Charles Horman, and how Nixon, Kissinger [who recently endoresed Hillary Rodham Clinton for the presidency], Helms and the CIA were extraordinarily guilty parties along with the vile Pinochet regime!
I also saw this some 20-plus years ago & maybe once more on TV. I appreciate the docudrama & wished I'd viewed the 2nd disc first to refresh my memory. Little wonder the Reagan administration dissed it. Jack Lemmon was capable of comic & drama. Funny, some things just don't change with our 'leaders actions'. I felt it meant more today than years ago.
This is such a great film. It exposes American complicity and cover up in the brutal coup d'etat in Chile that overthrew the elected govt of Salvatore Allende and installed General Pinochet.
Although we now know of the imprisonment, torture & murders of thousands by Pinochet's regime, when this film came out the truth of what was going on was still being denied and suppressed.
Based on real events, the story centres on American Charles Horman who goes 'missing' during the coup and the subsequent search for him by his wife and his father.
What they encounter and uncover is gripping.
Outstanding performances and probably one of Jack Lemmon's best as the father. Sissy Spacey plays the wife and gives her role dignity and depth.
This film stands up to the test of time and this new Criterion version has a remastered print.
I first saw this movie during its initial theatrical run in the early '80s. At the time, it bored me stiff. 30 years later, I looked at it again, and oh, my, how this movie has improved with age! I guess it's having a wider frame of political reference, but this story of American wrong-doing in other countries feels more relevant than ever. Lemmon is terrific, and there's an incisive scene of John Shea and Melanie Mayron at a dinner gathering where simply by virtue of being American it's taken for granted that they share their companions' values -- a well observed gem!
Many films and documentaries have been done to capture the brutal reign of A. Pinochet in Chile. This 30-year-old film is one of them and based on a true event. Jack Lemmon delivered a great performance as the desperate and frustrated father trying to find out what had happened to his only son. In the end we understand the Americans were just as guilty as their Chilean counterparts in the demise of the young man. A great drama.
A facinating and sad film with an outstangind performance by Jack Lemon. Highly recommended.
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