Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Missing is a weird movie to throw into a summer full of science fiction and horror, but for some reason, I saw it.

And actually, it's not a bad movie, and it ended up being one I would watch a few more times, whenever it turned up on cable. It was probably my first introduction to politically charged cinema, and it certainly was my first introduction to the real-life political upheavals that took place in Central and South America in the 1970s and 1980s. A year or so later, I'd be going to Rock Against Reagan concerts, and protesting the President's support of the Nicaraguan Contras.

Communism seems like such a quaint and long-ago threat now that I sometimes forget that the 1980s were part of the "Cold War," and the political upheavals in Latin America, and the United States' support of very dangerous and questionable rebel factions, all had to do with lingering fears about a communist takeover of the world. So, I grew up not fearing communism, but instead fearing the government's fear and response to it.

I saw the movie at the York, on a Saturday afternoon, and it must have been playing with something else, but apparently I didn't bother with whatever movie that was. As I mentioned, it's a politically-charged movie, and one that is, ultimately, pretty anti-American government. It's based on a true story, and a book called The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice, about events in Chile in 1973. I'd end up reading the book, too, and I actually recommend both. While they might be considered "good for you" works, both are actually pretty suspenseful, and play out like well-plotted thrillers.

The movie was, for the most part, critically acclaimed, so I've always been a little surprised by Roger Ebert's tepid response to it. I wonder if it's a movie he's gone back to since then. I know I have, and I think it holds up really well, even if it feels a tad dated at this point in history.

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