Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Weekend viewing

Missing (Costa-Gavras, 1982)
I've been swamped with work this past week, which means not much time for watching movies or for blogging, but I did manage to squeeze this one in over the long weekend. It's the third and final entry in my Sissy Spacek mini-festival, although I added a couple of her later movies to my Netflix queue (which means I'll probably be watching them in time to make the Sissy Spacek mini-festival an annual event). I didn't even realize until after watching this that all of the Spacek movies I watched are based on true stories. I don't know if that's particularly relevant, but I did think it was an odd coincidence.

So, right, this movie. Honestly, I was very disappointed in this film, which was nominated for a bunch of Oscars and considered quite daring in its time. It tells the true story of an American expatriate who was kidnapped in Chile (although the film doesn't mention the country's name) during a military coup. Spacek plays the wife who tries to track him down, and Jack Lemmon plays her straitlaced father-in-law, who doesn't approve of his son's pinko commie expat lifestyle. From the moment Lemmon appears on-screen, you can tell that the film is going to be about his character learning all about government corruption and the horrors of American foreign policy, opening his old-fashioned conservative eyes to the shining truths of the pinko commies. Which is fine, but it's done in such a heavy-handed manner that it nearly negates the genuine tragedy of what happened to the poor kidnapped guy (who, remember, is a real person). Spacek doesn't do a whole lot in this movie, since it's really Lemmon's show, and he's great as always. But, man, I did not need an emotionally manipulative lecture about the failure of American foreign policy, even a well-acted one.

2 comments:

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, I remember studying that movie in a media class as an example of product placement. The bad regime is always accompanied by Pepsi advertisements, while the Americans are always shown with Coke.

Josh said...

Wow, I totally did not notice that at all. Very ironic, though, given the film's anti-globalization/pro-hippies message.