This was based on a true story. About a man (Caan) who discovers that his ex-wife has disappeared along with their children. It seems that her new boyfriend works for some criminals. After ...
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This was based on a true story. About a man (Caan) who discovers that his ex-wife has disappeared along with their children. It seems that her new boyfriend works for some criminals. After being arrested, the government offers to let him enter the newly developed Witness Protection Program in exchange for testifying against his employers. His bosses instruct him to marry his girlfriend so that she can't testify against him, they promise that they will take care of her. When he learns that his cohorts have done nothing to aid his family while in jail, he accepts the government's offer. So, he and his wife and her children enter the program. Now her ex-husband goes to a lawyer because he wants to sue the government for keeping him away from his children.Written by
Compelling all the way through and based on a true story. Tom (Caan) wants his kids back after the Feds have taken them as part of a witness relocation program. Seems his ex-wife Ruthie (Rae) has hooked up with a minor gangster Jack (Viharo) who's testified against gang bosses. As part of his deal with the Feds, Jack's married Ruthie and they and her two kids by Tom are secretly spirited away to a new life. Trouble is no one, least of all the Feds, bothered telling Tom whose paternal interests have been totally ignored. A working stiff, Tom tries respectfully to work through the government bureaucracy to establish some kind of paternal rights for access to his kids. Nonetheless, his access could lead the gang to stoolie Jack's whereabouts, resulting in a central conflict of interests.
Clearly, there's a subtext to the storyline. Set in 1967, the narrative generally shows how uncaring Feds are about an average working guy's rights. Much of the proceedings are taken up with Tom being brushed off by ascending levels of government even up to his congressman. For Tom, it's ironic that the establishment he supports as an anti-hippie blue-collar conservative would treat him so cavalierly. In a sense, the movie suggests reasons for working class guys to despise government as much as do the anti-war hippies of the time. In effect, the governing agencies come across as basically uncaring about the broader consequences of their acts, seemingly either in Vietnam or Buffalo, NY. That's why Tom angrily identifies himself to a Fed as "Nobody" at movie's end. He's had an odd learning experience, but a learning experience it is. Perhaps I exaggerate some, but the subtextual core is definitely present in this adaptation of a real life event.
Anyway, Caan delivers an ace performance as Tom. Note how his lines are delivered in rather groping and not very articulate fashion, befitting a guy more skilled with his hands than his tongue. Thus, Caan manages a convincing role without special pleading. The rest of the rather large cast also performs ably, especially rotund McMillan as a street-wise cop and Viharo as the callous stoolie. But, as much as I wanted to hug her, I'm afraid Eikenberry is a shade too sweet and understanding as Tom's new girl friend.
On the whole, the movie comes across as very skillfully done, with a thought provoking storyline, and results that are generally underrated. So don't pass it up.
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