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The fictionalized story of Daniel, the son of Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed as Soviet spies in the 1950s. As a graduate student in New York in the 1960s, Daniel is involved in the antiwar protest movement and contrasts his experiences to the memory of his parents and his belief that they were wrongfully convicted. Written by
Michael C. Berch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Daniel is one of Sidney Lumet's favourites of his own films. He cites it even before Dog Day Afternoon, Network and 12 Angry Men. I guess when a film isn't as assimilated into pop culture as they are you can keep it closer to your heart. It's a shame, the film deserves so much more attention. This is no half hearted venture. It's emotionally charged and meticulous in all its details. From the textured cinematography (great use of colour changes for past and present), slick editing and rousing performances, you can feel the heat of the passion poured into it. And it hits some real movie magic moments, especially with Mandy Patinkin. Perhaps the problem is that it lacks a real hook to real you in. Its purpose is clear, the activism is justified, but it feels quite specific to its two time periods and struggles to resonate the same way now. It's a film that really needed to strike its chord when it was released. But that doesn't hold it back from being a deeply poignant experience, the highlight being Timothy Hutton's powerful performance as the titular protagonist.
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