Synopsis: The first American film by Costa-Gavras.

This political thriller has its origins in an actual event – the disappearance of a young American writer and filmmaker, Charles Horman (John Shea), during a South American military coup. Jack Lemmon stars as Charles’ father, Ed Horman, a prominent new York businessman, who comes to the aid of Charles’ wife, Beth (Sissy Spacek), in her desperate search for her missing husband. They are led in circles, up blind alleys and are confronted with lies and false hopes from both U.S. and foreign officials. But they frantically trudge on together, overcoming their past difference until the painful, shattering conclusion.

Missing 8.5

Based on a true story, this Costa-Gravas film recounts the story of an American man who has to fly to Chile in an attempt to find his missing son when all the traditional channels dry out. At first at odds with his daughter-in-law (played here by Sissy Spacek) and their chosen lifestyle, he slowly starts to see the kinds of dangers that they had boldly been facing since the country’s 1973 coup d’état.

There’s some really fine acting from Jack Lemmon here. Granted, some of his quirky gesticulating is still somewhat apparent, but it’s mostly a subdued affair and he has a few very powerful moments. His character’s transition from straight and narrow, uptight father to a more empathic, determined truth-seeker is well-constructed; it’s wholly credible and unarguably moving.

The rest of the acting is also very good, but the focal point is Lemmon, who has to discover what has happened to his son through the recollections of various friends, acquaintances, locals and officials. His emotional journey, and the mysterious goings-on in that country since the coup, keep this harrowing tale moving forward effortlessly, thereby leaving viewers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.

As tough as it can be, I couldn’t recommend this film more!

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