This political thriller has its origins in an actual event - the disappearance of a young American writer and filmmaker, Charles Horman (John Shea), during a South American military coup. Jack Lemmon stars as Charles' father, Ed Horman, a prominent New York "businessman, who comes to the aid of Charles' wife, Beth (Sissy Spacek), in her desperate search for her missing husband. They are led in circles, up blind alleys and are confronted with lies and false hopes from both U.S. and foreign officials. But they frantically trudge on together, overcoming their past differences. Until the painful, shattering conclusion.
A nightmarish account of the helplessness of an American businessman in trying to trace his missing son, a political activist of sorts, who has been swallowed up by an unnamed South American country in the throes of a military coup. Jack Lemmon is brilliant as the deeply conventional and utterly bewildered father who by degrees, and with the help of his son's wife, the beautiful Sissy Spacek, realises that not only is the Latin American state corrupt but also the tight-lipped and duplicitous US embassy. His faith is shattered as the story builds to its grim climax which includes an unforgettable scene in a body-strewn morgue.
Disturbing and moving political drama - excellent
- Missing review by RP
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You rated this film: 4
Based on the true story of the disappearance and killing of writer/journalist Charles Horman (look him up on Wikipedia) during the military coup in Chile in 1973 and directed by the respected Greek director Costa-Gavros, this is a disturbing and moving political drama.
While it's not an overtly political film, it deals with the search for Charles Horman by his father (Jack Lemmon) and wife (Sissy Spacek) and the lack of any real help or assistance in their search, and the obfuscation and denial by the US authorities of any US involvement in the coup. It turns out that Charles Horman was indeed killed by the Chilean military and that - as is now well known - the coup was orchestrated by the CIA to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Salvador Allende (who had the misfortune to be too left wing for the USA).
The film combines a father's moving search for his son with a growing realisation that his respect for the USA and its freedoms is not matched by its actions and the 'dirty tricks' involved in the role they were playing in Chile and indeed other South American countries.
Excellent script (it won an Oscar and a BAFTA), well acted (Jack Lemmon won Best Actor at Cannes). The film might at first look and feel a bit dated, but stick with it - it really is excellent. 4/5 stars.
Stunning political thriller
- Missing review by Jawbreaker
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You rated this film: 4
Still today, the main message of Missing carries true and remains relevant. On one hand you have Jack Lemmon in a career best role as the stubborn father. Refusing to believe that the American government is anything other impartial and not assisting the new power brokers in Chile. He is slowly discovering his own son and how restrictive Chile has become, assisted by Beth. Missing persons and their families don't matter on the political radar, despite how loudly you shout. Frustrated he takes up his own investigation to uncover the truth. Even after 25 years Missing is a fine piece of work from Constantin Costa-Gavras.