Mississippi, 1964. After driving through the night from the north, three young civil rights activists – two white and one black – disappear without a trace. Young FBI agent Alan Ward and his partner, Mississippian Rupert Anderson, are sent to investigate. But their inquiries are met with resistance at every turn, by racist locals, intimidated African-Americans, and first and foremost, the local sheriff and the mayor, who at a bare minimum sympathise with the Ku Klux Klan, possibly worse. When the FBI agents find the missing activists’ burnt-out car, they assume murder … Willem Dafoe plays the younger fed as a hothead who fearlessly, but somewhat naively, trusts that good will prevail with the proper application of ideals and the penal code, leading his enemies to mock him as a ‘liberal pussy’. And yet it is largely his actions that keep the plot of the political thriller moving, until he turns over the reins to the initially cautious, then increasingly resolute Anderson. Dafoe’s performance is more than a match for that of Gene Hackman, who won a Silver Bear at the 1989 Berlinale.
120’ · Colour · 35 mm
Gene HackmanWillem DafoeFrances McDormandBrad DourifR. Lee ErmeyGailard SartainStephen TobolowskyMichael RookerPruitt Taylor VinceBadja DjolaKevin Dunn
Orion Pictures Corp.