Two FBI agents investigating the murder of civil rights workers during the 60s seek to breach the conspiracy of silence in a small Southern town where segregation divides black and white. The younger agent trained in FBI school runs up against the small town ways of his former Sheriff partner. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Interior shots in the Sheriff's office, courtroom, and stairs from the courtroom were filmed in the old Carroll County courthouse in Vaiden, Mississippi. Built in 1905, the building was in such disrepair, that crew and extras had to dodge falling bricks during filming. Though slated for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the courthouse has been demolished. See more »
In one shot during the attempted lynching of Vertis Williams, the "noose" becomes detached on one side and flops from his neck while he is suspended in the air. See more »
What is it?
[seeing the car behind them]
What do they want?
I don't know... just pass me... pass me...
[trying to identify the following car]
Is it a cop?
I can't see.
[they are hit from behind]
What the fuck are these jokers playin' at?
Oh, they ain't playin', you better believe it.
[...] See more »
1964 - The year America was at war with itself! Thats a pretty good tag-line. The promotion for this film seemed to pitch it as a thriller or a buddy movie. It is neither. This is a very mature investigation of a racist Mississippi town where the brutal murder of three civil rights activists took place in 1964. The film is inspired by real-life events.
Dafoe and Hackman play the two FBI agents sent to investigate. Their differing styles of pursuing the case and Dafoe's belated admiration for Hackman's "method's" is an interesting layer of flesh added to the structure of the film.
You will see some really nasty racist characters played by familiar faces like Brad Dourif, Lee Ermey and an especially violent Michael Rooker. All are excellent. Frances McDormand really steals the movie as the wife of racist Dourif.
This film is far more intelligent than some of the Stanley Kramer movies of the 60's which dealt with racism. It does not shy away from showing the seriousness (and sickness) of the racial mindset without being excessively preachy. It is in fact very watchable - largely due to a colorful and humorous Hackman whose character was himself a Mississippi small-town Sheriff at one time and understands the pitfalls of the Hoover boys going in all guns blazing.
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