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Teen Movie Critic

Mississippi Burning

by

Roger Davidson

Mississippi Burning
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"Q:What has four eyes, but can't see?" "A:Mississippi." -Popular joke of the civil rights era.

A brilliant look at the civil rights movement and the people who fought and died for it. Based on a true story of three civil rights workers in the deep south, who were taken by the local redneck police force and handed over to the dreaded Ku Klux Klan, who murdered them. Two FBI agents (Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe) use everything they have in their power to find out the truth, and possibly find a way to indict the sheriff (Gailard Sartain) and his cowardly deputy (Brad Dourif). The key to the whole case rests on the shoulders of Dourif's wife (Frances McDormand), a woman who is subjected to severe spousal abuse by Dourif. She has the knowledge that could destroy the credibility of Dourif's alibi and let the truth come out about the community's (black and white) knowledge of what went down with the three boys.

Simply stunning. A great ensemble cast, which features excellent acting from Hackman, McDormand (Fargo), Dafoe and Dourif. The film is also quite scary in the way that it shows the brutality perpetrated upon the black people of Mississippi. What's most frightening is the knowledge that this happened all too recently, and that something like this could happen again anytime, anyplace. A movie that is on par with Schindler's List, this is the type of film that children SHOULD see (despite the R rating), because it offers them a chance to learn about a dark chapter in American history and to perhaps learn from the mistakes made during that period.

My Rating = Four Stars


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