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USA 1982
Directed by
117 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


With his background as a political film maker (Z, State of Seige) Constantin Costa-Gavras had the credentials to give bite to this film about US involvement in Latin American, specifically in Chile under the Allende. Cast against the grain, Jack Lemmon turns in a strong performance as uptight Mr Average American, a conservative, middle-aged businessman who comes to realise that good ol’ Uncle Sam isn’t to be trusted when his left-wing journalist son (John Shea) disappears and the American embassy not only appears to be unhelpful but downright obstructionist.

Costa-Gavras knows how to tilt the table and Lemmon and Sissy Spacek as his daughter-in-law do a great job of getting us to feel their outrage, burying their generation-gap differences in the process with Lemmon’s character learning some home truths about the son he never really knew . Notwithstanding, the film too often veers towards the heavy-handed in its good/evil opposition, something which, ironically, works against itself by wearing out audience sympathy although somewhat surprisingly, the film won the Palme D'Or at Cannes, with, less surprisingly, Jack Lemmon winning Best Actor (Lemmon and Spacek were nominated for Best Actor and Actress Oscars but, unsurprisingly neither won).

DVD Extras: None 

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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