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Missing (1982)
In terms of detailing America's role in the violent coups of South America. This film is far better than Salvador in showing the unpredictable hell and madness one sees when one is in a South American country being torn apart with American involvement. Without the sledge hammer tactics or unlikeable main characters that Salvador has.

Lemmon is great as a middle aged Christian Scientist looking for his son along with his son's wife played by Sissy Spacek as the two of them deal with the lies and nonsense of finding the guy. Along with a gut punch of a final image and words of Lemmon's voice over.

I admit, this is the first time I've seen a Costa-Gavras film. It really makes me want to check out Z at some point.
I'm glad you picked up that this was a Costa-Gavras film. I too really like this film, and find it in his cannon to be among his best. Z is obviously very much worth seeking out, as are State of Siege, Le Couperet and Amen, which are all similar in that they all deal with some kind of political subject, with the exception of Le Couperet, which deals with it on a different scale, and through different means.

Agree with your comparison with Salvador. Much more subtle and obviously Jack Lemmon isn't an unlikeable character. Costa-Gavras is also a much better director, in my opinion.
Just saw this for the first time a month or two ago, EXCELLENT performance by Jack Lemmon. A great slow-burning political thriller.
To be honest, this is the only recently released Criterion DVD that I've gotten excited about seeing.
Z is an absolute classic. Completely underrated and brilliant. Maybe I'm setting my expectations for Missing too high, considering the only other Costa-Gravas film I've seen is his semi-remake of Ace in the Hole, Mad City. And that was pretty bad.
Tarkovsky, where did you manage to see State of Siege?
The university library had it on VHS, so I lucked out. Not great quality but easily watchable.

Originally Posted by EdHocken
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this is the first time I've seen a Costa-Gavras film.

And you thought you already had a healthy distrust for your government's motives.

Absolutely check out Z. And definately AMEN.

His two films from Joe Eszterhas scripts (BETRAYED and MUSIC BOX) are a different breed of dog, but should you check them out at some point, I'd be curious about your take on them.
I'll keep that in mind but I heard Mad City is terrible.
Mad City isn't good, but it isn't terrible. There's some good moments, and the last shot of the film if I remember correctly really stood out. Costa-Gavras should never have to work with a mediocre John Travolta Hollywood vehicle.
Congrats, Missing, you are the first movie since Paradise Lost that I had to turn off because it was too upsetting.
Possibly my favourite Lemmon performance. The way he conveys his character's arc from disappointed/frustrated parent to a worn-down longing and then finally, the acceptance of who his son was is just pitch-perfect. I really like the little moments when he's told that his son had similar characteristics whether they be through his outbursts or how they both held a spoon, they're vital in creating a relationship that you never see on screen between father and son.

Costa-Gavras shoots it all straight which makes the images even more horrific as it's conveyed so naturally. Love that scene where they're eating at the fancy restaurant and then take a break from their meal to watch the anarchy on the streets.

Just one of the greats with a very tender score by Vangelis too.

Just watched this last night for a weekly Movie Night with some friends.

Amazing film.  Riveting from start to finish without resorting to overblown theatrics.  For some reason, I kept being reminded of A SEPARATION.

Also, a fantastically sinister shot:


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