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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Betrayed (1988)

An FBI agent (Debra Winger) goes undercover to infiltrate a right wing terrorist group suspected in the killing of a liberal Jewish radio talk show host (Richard Libertini). Lines and loyalties get blurred when she finds herself attracted to the leader (Tom Berenger) of a white supremacist group.  Directed by Costa-Gavras, who is an old hand at political thrillers with movies like MISSING and the Oscar winning Z on his resume. But the screenplay is by that hack Joe Eszterhas (SHOWGIRLS) and the combination of director and screenwriter is not a good fit. Eszterhas' script is heavy handed and Costa-Gavras isn't able to whip up much tension out of the unsubtle script. Are we to believe that the FBI would encourage an agent to kill innocent people and sleep with the enemy to get information? Perhaps I'm naive but I didn't buy it, at least as shown here. Ironically, the film is probably more timely today than it was in 1988. The present administration has all kinds of racists and right wing whack jobs coming out of the closet and what they're spouting isn't all that different from what's portrayed in the film. Highly uneven but worth watching. With Betsy Blair (MARTY), John Heard, John Mahoney, Ted Levine and Jeffrey DeMunn.

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