122 minutes| U.S.A.| 1982| Colour| 35mm

Costa-Gavras’ first American film, based on a true story, is a thriller about the abuse of political power. A young American has disappeared after the military coup in Chile. His wife (Sissy Spacek) is joined in the search by the man’s father (Jack Lemmon), a successful businessman and Christian Scientist whose belief in truth, justice and the American way is to be severely tested by events. The developing relationship between conservative father and radical daughter-in-law is beautifully acted; and the horror of a city under martial law is evoked by often startling imagery (a white horse charging down a deserted street, a black line of unidentified corpses glimpsed through the glass ceiling of a morgue). Most chilling perhaps is the characterisation of the American officials who, whilst professing to help, are for their own reasons colluding in a labyrinth of lies. The ending is a quietly incisive indictment of the ‘economical with the truth’ school of political diplomacy. (Notes by Neil Sinyard).

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