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Movie Review:Mississippi Burning


Created almost two decades ago, the cinematography in this movie could put most modern camera people to shame. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe lead an outstanding cast of both black and white actors in this epic movie on racially motivated crimes in the sixties.

In a small isolated town in Mississippi, three young one, two white and one black, drive out in the dead of night. These civil rights activists have no idea about the evils that await them that very night.

Their disappearance would bring into town, two FBI agents. The older of these men(Hackman) is a wise cracking cynical individual who holds no illusions about the ability of justice to come out through conventional methods of interrogation.

His boss, the younger agent(Dafoe) is a play-by-the-book official, who does not approve of his colleague's methods. Needless to say, the there is tension between the two men. However, both are committed in finding out the truth, and in prosecuting the guilty parties.

These are not easy tasks. The clan has a strong foothold in the town. Both blacks and those who sympathise with them are unwilling to cooperate with the FBI agents, as they afraid of repercussions and fear for their own lives. The clan members who have high political clout are hell-bent in getting the outsiders out of the town.

The movie picked up two Oscars, one for best actor(Hackman) and another for cinematography. Dafoe picked up one of the movie's six other nominations. Hackman looks the same, and seems to have aged little in these years. He is bound to go down as one of the greatest that Hollywood has produced.

Many movies on this theme have been made, but few have the raw intensity and the cinematography that are part of this movie. While this movie was criticized for not having blacks in leads roles, one has to admit that the blacks and the supporting white actors in the movie have performed in outstanding capacity even in their small roles. Mississippi Burning is an important and entertaining movie, that simply cannot be missed.

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