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Nicaragua 1979: Star photographer Russel Price covers the civil war against president Somoza. Facing the cruel fighting - people versus army - it's often hard for him to stay neutral. When the Guerillas have him take a picture of the leader Rafael, who's believed to be dead, he gets drawn into the happenings. Together with his reporter friends Claire and Alex he has to hide from the army.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
In the dark room of the guerrilla base the rays of sunlight are cast in two different directions, probably to form an appropriate atmosphere, however it is not possible in natural conditions. See more »
The American focus takes a lot away from the story
Nicaragua 1979 sees the rebel uprising reaching a peak and causing an inflow of foreign journalists including photojournalist Russell Price and Claire. As the conflict rages around them Russell and Claire fall in love, despite her relationship with anchorman Alex Grazier.
My plot summary of this feels a little false - it makes it sound like a romantic drama rather than a political drama. However it's closer to that than it is to being a look at the conflict in Nicaragua. The story made me think it would be a look at the conflict, but rather this is a look at the conflict through the eyes of foreigners including CIA and journalists. It's still interesting - but would have been better looking at it from the rebel's point of view - but then I guess the American audience wouldn't have been interested. The focus on the US stars makes this a drama with the war as a backdrop, this takes away from the impact of the conflict onscreen.
One of the last scenes of the films has an elderly lady talking to Claire following the death of an American journalist at the hands of the Government. Due to this death the USA has thrown their support behind the rebels and the Government has fallen. The lady essentially says that "50,000 Nicaraguans have died but it took only one American death to convince the US of the true nature of the Government here - we should have killed one a long time ago" (rough quote!). This is a good point, made in criticism of the USA's foreign policy and how they value lives of different nationalities. However this criticism can also be levelled at the film itself - it focuses on the Americans more than the Nicaraguans, the American characters are more important than the Nicaraguan characters - you can't have it both ways, you can't criticise someone else for something you're guilty of. The story is still interesting but it's so USA focused that it almost forgets the main players in the story (the rebels & the Government) and relegates them to bit parts.
Nolte is good in the lead, but I thought Joanna Cassidy was a bit outclassed by the rest of the cast. Hackman is good as always but had very little to do. Ed Harris is good, but again his character was the only soldier really given a character or a story (and of course, he's an American mercenary).
Overall an interesting story but the main point of the film (as voiced by the elderly lady) is also a criticism of the film itself. I wanted to know more about the conflict but instead knew more about the love triangle - a political drama that manages to cheapen the very political war that it sought to highlight.
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