xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Movies often take place in towns, but they rarely seem to live in them. Alan Parker’s “Mississippi Burning” feels like a movie made from the inside out, a movie that knows the ways and people of its small Southern city so intimately that, having seen it, I know the place I’d go for a cup of coffee and the place I’d steer clear from. This acute sense of time and place - rural Mississippi, 1964 - is the lifeblood of the film. More than any other film I’ve seen, this one gets inside the passion of race relations in America.
The film is based on a true story, the disappearances of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, three young civil rights workers who were part of a voter registration drive in Mississippi. When their murdered bodies were finally discovered, their corpses were irrefutable testimony against the officials who had complained that the whole case was a publicity stunt, dreamed up by Northern liberals and outside agitators. The case became one of the milestones, like the day Rosa Parks took her seat on the bus or the day Martin Luther King marched into Montgomery, on the long march toward racial justice in this country.
But “Mississippi Burning” is not a documentary, nor does it strain to present a story based on the facts. This movie is a gritty police drama, bloody, passionate and sometimes surprisingly funny about the efforts of two FBI men to lead an investigation into the disappearances. Few men could be more opposite than these two agents: Anderson (Gene Hackman), the good old boy who used to be a sheriff in a town a lot like this one, and Ward (Willem Dafoe), one of Bobby Kennedy’s bright young men from the Justice Department. Anderson believes in keeping a low profile, hanging around the barber shop, sort of smelling out the likely perpetrators. Ward believes in a show of force and calls in hundreds of federal agents and even the National Guard to search for the missing workers.
Anderson and Ward do not like each other very much. Both men feel they should be in charge of the operation. As they go their separate paths, we meet some of the people in the town. The mayor, a slick country-club type, who lectures against rabble-rousing outsiders.