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Overall Rating
4.14

Awesome57.61%
Worth A Look: 20.65%
Average: 8.7%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 8.7%

2 reviews, 80 user ratings


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Mississippi Burning
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by Jack Sommersby

"Powerful Look at Racism in Deep South, 1964"
5 stars

This Alan Parker-directed docudrama was a far more deserving recipient of the 1988 Best Picture Oscar than the lame-as-a-snooty-dame "Rain Man".

FBI agents Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe are sent down to a small Mississippi town in 1964 to investigate the disappearance of two civil-rights activists and the African-American teenager they were transporting. Based on a true story but considerably fictionalized by screenwriter Chris Gerolmo, this controversial Oscar-winner angered many for placing the white heroes front and center, and the blacks into the background. Yet a film, whether it's based on a true story or not, should be judged for what it is and not what it isn't. Yes, an interesting film could have been made of a story told from a black character's perspective; however, with two white characters sharing that duty, Mississippi Burning still manages to function as a riveting and disturbing film that works as an involving crime drama, a scathing social expose, and a touching love story. The nature of racism is perceptively explored here (poor white Southerners thinking themselves better than blacks is the only thing of pride they can hold onto) and given a seedy texture that gets under your skin (you can practically see it oozing out of a racist bartender's bulging veins), and the psychological complexity staggering (like an FBI agent's manipulative tactic of using romance to get information out of a deputy's wife -- who is repulsed by her husband's violent bigotry -- with little regard for the consequences). Alan Parker directs flawlessly and demonstrates a genuine feel for the Deep South that eluded him in his otherwise-splendid Angel Heart from the year before; and even when the writing occasionally bogs things down and the strong-arm tactics employed by the FBI come off as more entertaining than plausible, Parker manages to frame everything in a realistic context that we can respond to. In a film full of many delights, the greatest of them is Gene Hackman's magnificent, career-capping performance as the more perceptive of the agents, one who can ingratiate himself even in a room full of bigots yet can swing into a Shakespearean rage in the face of hostility that's truly frightening to behold.

Gene Hackman won Best Actor awards from both the National Board of Review and the Berlin International Film Festival, and cinematographer Peter Biziou took home the Oscar for his top-grade work.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1021&reviewer=327
originally posted: 08/05/04 00:42:11
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User Comments

11/08/12 howkinx no regrets 4 stars
9/02/12 bella shit flim soo boring 1 stars
2/27/12 Chris Completely factual specials come on PBS all the time and no one watches them. 4 stars
1/17/11 John it was alright but got tired halfway through 3 stars
10/05/10 PAUL SHORTT POWERFUL, VIVID, WELL MADE DRAMA WITH SOME GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
3/03/10 d.shirgir I watched this movie when obama is president of US!!! 5 stars
9/28/09 Chloe it was great i'm so glad i watched it really interesting and educational. i recomend it! 5 stars
9/24/09 ak It a good reminder, peoles are close minded minded back then. 4 stars
7/09/09 Deb The movie is pretty acurate as to how it really happened. This is a true story not hype 5 stars
6/16/09 no one any one who says this movie is shit can go and die, the movie was pretty good 4 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Awesome Film. 5 stars
9/14/08 Flynn sweet film, did it for an assignement and it was a nice movie 5 stars
8/13/08 Nick Pecucci I thought it was racist. 3 stars
7/31/08 Sonny-Bill Williams lover its a good movie...teaches u a lot dont it?? 4 stars
5/27/08 Matt Outstanding. You can feel the hatred, the racial tension, right as if you were there. 5 stars
3/19/08 Ricky Harris This movie is shit, i hope niggers die irl 1 stars
3/15/08 akhil hey i want the music,when the house are burnt 4 stars
3/06/08 Leslie Dowie It's fucking shit 1 stars
12/14/07 alice brilliant film but very disturbing to some content, but a brilliant worth seeing film 5 stars
9/17/07 Abe Good entertainment! 4 stars
7/25/07 Jimmy Bambino Hackman givin that old grin/smile. Givin That good old Mississippi boy talk. 5 stars
7/12/07 R.W. Welch Overwrought, but Hackman keeps it afloat. C+ 3 stars
5/30/07 Charlie The editing was BRILLIANT! 5 stars
4/20/07 rafaelito IM NOT COOL! >> AT ALL! 1 stars
3/23/07 Alex Fantastic movie, gripping and powerful. 4 stars
1/14/07 gutta gurl good, cuz dem white folk got locked up at da end 5 stars
1/01/07 johnnyfog Sorry, the FBI was never this benevolent. Hackman saves retarded movie 3 stars
12/16/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good 4 stars
11/28/06 Mrs. Lady l liked the movie....it shows how cruel some whites were in those days. 4 stars
11/13/06 sony what great film 5 stars
10/10/06 NW Worth watching 5 stars
7/13/06 Joanie racist 1 stars
6/08/06 Peggy Doty kept me on the edge of my seat 5 stars
5/03/06 Cheyenne Awesome! There so much hate people seem to forget about. 5 stars
4/16/06 Robert La Fond Mississippi Burning is a awsome movie Hackman & Dafoe were great for the parts 5 stars
10/22/05 Amber O'Rourke I think that it is wrong the way they treated the backs. 2 stars
9/27/05 Daveman Full of faults but there's plenty to admire here to, three stars, maybe three and a half/ 3 stars
8/23/05 ES Film portrays the south in a time of transitition that should have come 70 years earlier 5 stars
6/21/05 the dude One of the best film's i have seen in a long time. AWESOME 5 stars
6/14/05 Weltner Film portrays White Southerners as ugly,gross,racist trash -i.e. same old hollywood!! 1 stars
3/10/05 mcleod truely moving it makes u wonder when abuse of pwer will stop 5 stars
2/23/05 batman it was good because the black men died 1 stars
12/01/04 Jamey W. historically- not completely accurate- left out major details; overall- great- enlightening 4 stars
11/17/04 stefan gregg it was a good film because it showed what happend to the black people. 5 stars
11/08/04 Mary K shocking and unbelievable. It was quite an education watching this film 5 stars
9/02/04 ~Sweet Bella~ extremely touching, i hate racism..a job well done! 5 stars
7/31/04 michael knight the fact that he brought down all that mann power was a bit hard to comprihend. 4 stars
6/29/04 DM One of the best films about racism I've seen 5 stars
6/02/04 Jen graphic.... 5 stars
5/23/04 Mitch Good acting and razor-sharp script. Without a doubt a landmark for its genre. 5 stars
2/28/04 Precious Monty What percentage of this movie is hype, what percentage is this movie accurate? 4 stars
2/12/04 Desi d. Garza very dramatic and scary 5 stars
12/14/03 Mariz Awesome and touching 5 stars
12/07/03 john powerful and well acted! 5 stars
11/19/03 KeLLy Dis is one of da best movies i hav seen.It is very educational and it is so awesum!!! 5 stars
10/30/03 A.K. Wasn't so impressed! 3 stars
9/12/03 Anna Oskarsdottir What percentage is hype and what is real history? 4 stars
3/20/03 tricia dees This was a very interesting film to watch. 5 stars
3/19/03 Amy i couldnt handle it. it would have been good, i just cant handle murder. other than ALL te 2 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Uneven screenplay enlivened by Gene Hackman's and Alan Parker's brilliance. 4 stars
1/23/03 788t76 Really good 4 stars
1/20/03 momonom TOTAL CRAP 1 stars
1/08/03 Seppo Great film! Hackman and Dafoe are really GREAT ACTORS! 5 stars
11/14/02 johny sexy women nuttin like rasists 5 stars
10/06/02 fish This movie rocks ... see those racist bastards get whats comming to em 5 stars
9/30/02 Charles Tatum Hackman and Defoe are the bickering Odd Couple in this preachfest 2 stars
8/21/02 Nancy Brilliant 5 stars
8/04/02 KMG I LOVED WATCHING THEM RACIST ASSHOLES GET WHAT'S COMIN'...YEEEHAW! 5 stars
7/24/02 Dwayne Pipe It was good 3 stars
7/03/02 civi terrible, boring as hell 2 stars
4/03/02 laura byrd THis is a wonderful movie!! 5 stars
3/16/02 Marcia Lartz Never adequately explains all the reasons for feud between two lead agents. 4 stars
1/27/02 Lin Rainey The story is a fictionalized account of real events. Hackman's performance is magnificent. 5 stars
7/09/01 taj Entertaining potboiler, most notable for its skewed view of recent history. 3 stars
6/19/01 The Assassin An excellent movie! 5 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla great movie with a poweful story, fine perfoemances and good cinematography 5 stars
8/18/00 Matthew Bartley Excellent movie 5 stars
11/22/98 little jerry Can fault it on dubious historical value but gripping & Hackman never better. 4 stars
11/16/98 Lord Of The Dunce If not for Woods' bad make-up, I'd call this one a classic. 5 stars
9/26/98 Maegs Dafoe &Hackman deliver fine performances, powerful story, very well done. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Dec-1988 (R)
  DVD: 08-May-2001

UK
  05-May-1989 (18)
  DVD: 01-Dec-1999

Australia
  N/A (M)




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