When an idealistic American writer disappears during the Chilean coup d'état in September 1973, his wife and father try to find him.When an idealistic American writer disappears during the Chilean coup d'état in September 1973, his wife and father try to find him.When an idealistic American writer disappears during the Chilean coup d'état in September 1973, his wife and father try to find him.
Adapted by Costa-Gavras and Donald Stewart from Thomas Hauser's non-fiction book documenting the true case, the plot focuses on American expatriate Charles Horman whose sudden disappearance in the days after the Pinochet coup brings together two familial adversaries, his wife Beth and his father Ed, who has flown in from New York. Charles and Beth had been leading a vagabond existence with his work in children's animation and their relatively passive support of Allende's reform measures. Charles' back story is revealed in carefully constructed flashback episodes that show him to be curious about the presence of U.S. military personnel in the area. Once he disappears, Ed and Beth seek help from the U.S. Consulate but face a seemingly insurmountable wall of bureaucracy. Frustrated, Ed, a highly conservative Christian Scientist, lashes out at Beth for what he considers her undesirable influence over his son. However, as they absorb the scope of the violence and the culpability of the U.S. government, they bond intractably toward their objective of finding Charles.
For once, Jack Lemmon, unafraid to convey his character's prejudices, is able to use his neurotically coiled energy in a suitable dramatic role as Ed. The result is a startlingly raw performance that ranks among his best. Sissy Spacek is terrific as Beth, though her character does not experience as big an arc of self-revelation. In the elliptical flashback role of Charles, John Shea provides solid support, as do Janice Rule as a political activist and a number of familiar TV faces - Melanie Mayron as friend Terry and David Clennon as U.S. consul Phil Putnam, both from "thirtysomething", and Joe Regalbuto, Frank from "Murphy Brown", playing another Frank, a possible victim of the coup. There are unfortunately no extras with the 2004 DVD.
- Oct 19, 2006