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On March 12, 1956, Basque Nationalist Jesús de Galíndez Suarez disappears from his apartment in New York, never heard from again. He had been working with the FBI and was about to publish a book critical of Dominican strongman, Trujillo. In 1988, a graduate student, Muriel Colber, wants to make Galíndez the subject of her dissertation. She's in Spain doing research; finding little, she goes to Santo Domingo. At every turn, the CIA, in the person of agent Robards, tries to thwart her; and, at each turn, as she considers abandoning the project, someone offers new information, often contradictory. She wants the truth behind the Galíndez mystery; will she find it? Written by
On the scene where Galíndez is being drowned as torture, the actor holding Eduard Fernández missed the signal they have previously agreed and let Fernández drowning for longer than expected. See more »
When Radcliffe is talking with Robards at the restaurant, his hand position on the beer glass changes. See more »
CIA and American interference in the Dominican Republic exposed
"The Galindez File" qualifies as a neo-noir. This is not a mystery with classic suspects. We know who died (Galindez) and we know who ordered it (Trujillo). We do not know the details, but we are shown most of that through flashbacks to 1956 that show the imprisonment of Galindez, his torture, his hearing and his death. Accuracy of the details is not that important because the focus of the movie lies elsewhere, in 1988. That focus is on the operation of the CIA agent (Harvey Keitel) and how he works behind the scenes to quash the uncovering of the details of the crime. Specifically, he is working to stop the research efforts of a doctoral student (Saffron Burrows) who is determined to find the truth. She's smart, beautiful but also naive, little aware of what she's getting into. The story in 1988 follows Burrows as she meets with various parties who participated in one way or another in the fate of Galindez or who have personal knowledge of one aspect or another of it.
The screenplay is extremely well constructed in employing the flashbacks mixed in with Burrows's research interviews with some of the same people who were involved 32 years earlier, and with the efforts of Keitel to control what she's hearing. We are able to see what happened to Galindez (that is, within the movie) to which Burrows is not privy, and we are able to see the stories spun by those who have been instructed behind the scenes by Keitel.
There is a growing tension and concern about Burrows as we see Keitel employ his power and observe his personality and how he approaches the cover-up and deals with people. Keitel is terrific in the part, and all fans of his will want to see him in this role of a rather stony and really a petty man, a ruthless man without even thinking about it, a man who cannot afford compassion or questioning what he's doing if he wants to retire alive with a pension.
The Spanish actors who play the parts of the men whom Burrows interviews are excellent. So are those involved in the 1956 scenes.
The screenplay does an excellent job at bringing out the relationships between Washington and Trujillo, the CIA and Galindez and also brings in that of the FBI and informants, of which Galindez may have been one. The relations between Washington and Franco's Spain are touched upon regarding the separatist Basque movement. Trujillo's power and temper are brought out. The network of fear engendered by his rule and the continuation of Washington's influence thereafter is also shown. In short, this is a sophisticated screenplay.
Duplicity pervades the movie. Truth is very elusive. Government power is shown to be directly associated with crime, in direct ways as with Trujillo suppressing a writer whose work he takes as a personal insult; or in indirect ways as the CIA operates at a secret distance from the Congress and the Executive who control it and give it leeway to do their dirty work as long as it doesn't make headlines.
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