Mississippi Burning (18) (Alan Parker, US, 1988) Willem Datoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif. 127 ntins. Alan Parker is well-used to landing in hot waferwith film critics, so the reception of Mississippi Burning will scarcely have come as a surprise to him. The film has been widely rounded upon, not so much for its intrinsic merits as for the temerity of a white Englishman in presuming to tackle the subject of American racism, despite the director’s clear and explicit avowal that his film did not pretend to tell the story from a black point of view.
The controversy aroused in that debate did the film no favours in the Academy Awards, as well as deflecting attention from its considerable merits. Set in Mississippi in 1964, it recounts the story of an FBI investigation of the alleged murders of three missing Civil Rights workers. Datoe is the strictly by the book Agent Ward, Hackman the pragmatic ex-Mississippi Sheriff Anderson. They run into a wall of black silence and violent, Klan-inspired white antagonism, but the bodies are eventually found when Anderson elicits a vital piece of evidence from the local deputy's wife, Mrs Pell (McDourmand). with whom he has become emotionally involved.
Her hospitalisation at the hands of her incriminated husband (Dourit) sparks off a change in the running of the bogged-down investigation, as Ward allows Anderson his head. The brutal, no-nonsense tactics adopted by the enraged agent are not to his superior's liking, but prove effective, although the dramatic use of his relationship with Mrs Pell as the catalyst for action rather undermines the importance of the racial attacks which are supposedly at the heart of the story.
Nonetheless, Mississippi Burning is a powerful thriller, full of good
"1 \i ‘ 5
intentions, and Parker’s best in some time. Much remains to be said on the subject, and it may have to be in a rather less familiarlorm than this lilm‘s mainstream Hollywood commercial context and well-worn detective story-line. but all concerned deserve credit for what they have managed to achieve this time around. Not too many film-makers working in that commercial context would be prepared even to attempt bringing such a flammable subject to the screen. (Kenny Mathieson)
sltootiitg style. lidinburgh: Fdinburgh I'itiversity Film Society. IThe Tall Guyt 15)(Mcl Smith. t'K. 1989) Jeff ( ioldbltiitt. limma ‘I'hoittpson. Rowait Atkinson. 911 mins. (ioldltlum plays Dexter Kiitg. American actor iit Lortdoit. sttick as a straightntait to Rowart Atkinson‘s obnoxious bastard comedian. btit wltose life and career are tochange forever wltert lte becontes heavily smitten witlt nurse ’I‘hompson. Reasonably straigltt btit slight love story needs a lotof cotttic business to keep it going. btit antaiable performances all round ntakes this a likeable debut as director for Mel Sittitlt. Iidiitbtirgh: Cannon. Central: Caledoniait. Regal. Strathclyde: AMC Clydebartk 111. Kelburne. ()deon Ayr. WM R Filitt Centre. I Tequila Sunrise ( 15) ( Robert 'l‘owne. CS. 1988) Mel (iibsoit. Kurt Russell. Michelle Pfeiffer. 1111) rttins. Would-be ex-dope dealer (iibson finds that he can't quite shift his dark past. aitd ltiscltildhood friend Russell. now a narcotics cop becomes involved in trying to track him down. Meanwhile. Pfciffer istlte glamorous restaurant owner romantically caught between the two of them. Disappointing second effort as director front renowned screenwriter 'I'owne (Cliiiitirmvii ). which fails to surmount well-used narrative ingredients arid winds dowit to a positively liittp climax. Sonic good dialogue remains. btit it'snot enough. Central: Cannon Falkirk. I The Terminator (James Cameron. LS. 1984) Arnold Schwarzenegger. Michael Biehrt. Linda I lamilton. Slickly paced. violent thriller about a killing machine seitt back in tiitte to murder the motherof a future liberator of the embattled planet earth. Arrtie is perfect as the emotionless cyborg terminator. and Cameron handles the action with real flair and a slightly distrubing zest for carnage. also evident iit his subsequent :1 liens. lidinbtirgh: Cameo. I The Time To Live and The Time To Die (P(i)(lloullsiao-llsicttfl‘iawan.1985) You Artshun. Sltenghua. Mei Fang. 137 rttins. 19-17. seeking fresh opportunities a
Chinese family ittove to Taiwan aitd are forced to stay there when the revolution hits the mainland. I'nderstated domestic saga loosely based oit the director's owrt experiences. and very typical of his careful. detailed approach ntuch evident iii the earlier Summer .41 Grandpa's. Botlt films are charnting. delicate. arid highly recommended. lidiitburgh: Filnthousc. I Torch Song Trilogy ( 15) 1": (Paul Bogart. LS. 1988) Harvey Fierstein. Anne Bancroft. Matthew Broderick. 119 mins. See panel arid feature. (ilasgow: (if-'1‘. Iidiitburgh: Filmhouse.
I Trouble in Mind ( 15) (Alan Rudolph. US. 1985) Kris Kristofferson. Keith Carradine. (ienevieve Bujold. 112 mins. Rudolph's pltaittasmagorical blend of gangster movie. fantasy melodrama arid modern day western with desperate characters trying to go straight in the moral playground of Rain City. Iidinburgh: Filmhouse.
ITwins ( 15) ( Ivan Reitinan. CS. 1988) Danny De Vito. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Kelly Preston. Chloe Webb. 107 mins. In an effort to create the perfect human (male. natch) scientists impregnate a beautiful woman artist with the sperm of six diversely distinguished men. and the resulting offspring grows up in an isolated research station to be our man Arnie. However. art unexpected side-effect is runty brother De Vito. aitd when the two finally meet tip many years later. their searclt to find their ntotlter is the catalyst for an unlikely family relationship.
Even if the plot does bear a strong resemblance to Rain Man. this isan antiably silly farce with Schwarzenegger proving quite adept at ltandlingthe comedy material. (ilasgow: Cannort The Forge. Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Strathclyde: AMC Clydebank ll). ()deon Ayr. ()deon Hamilton.
I The Unbearable Lightness of Being ( 13) (Philip Kaufman. US. 1987) Daniel Day-Lewis. Juliette Binoche. Lena ()lin. 167 mins. Ambitious adaptation of Milan Kundera's elliptical. complex novel about a womanising Czech brain surgeon who falls in love for the first time with a
doe-like beauty front a small spa town.
Abandoning his freewheeling forntcr existeitce. ltc faces commitment artd togetherness at the time of the Prague Spring and Russian invasion of 1968.
A dawdling arid rather austere narrative is given some spice arid interest by art overwhelittiitg eroticism. a beautifully judged evocation of Prague artd gorgeous photography. otherwise vastly overloitg aitd tiitinvolviitg. lidiitburgh: Canteo.
I Warlock(15)(Steve Miner. t's. 1938) Richard F..(iraitt. Lori Singer. Julian Sands. 1112 ittiits. The local warlock front a small town irt 17th century Massachusetts is transported to present day Los Aitgeles where no-one bats art eye at his ltip garb. However if he has his way they will all know about hint soon. He plans totake over the world unless. that is. ltissworit enemy (also miraculously pulled through time ) cart stop hint. Well. if you plan to remake tlte world iii the Devil's image l..A. is a great place to start. Iidiitburgh: Cannon.
I Winter Soldier( IS) Scaring American documentary about ITS atrocities iii Vietnam concentrates oit the testimony given by more than two hundred ex-( il‘s at the 1971 Detriot Winter Soldier Investigation. backed tip with footage of torture and murder previously unseen. The result is a shocking. outraged exploration of ltow our supposedly civilised Western values are so easily stripped away by the seeming irtevitability of violent aggression. Iidinburgh: lidiitbtirgh I'itiversity Film Society.
I Wish You Were Here ( 15) (David Leland. CK. 1987) limily Lloyd. 'l'om Bell. (ieof'frey llutchings. 92mins. Antatory rttisadventtires of a precocious teenager iii a drab 1950's seaside town.
Iiitjoyable. bittersweet comic treatntertt of the sexual ntores of times gone by.with art ertergetic performance front perky newcomer Ms Lloyd. Iidinburgh: Fdinburgh L'niversity Filitt Society.
I Witches of Eastwick ( 18) (George Miller. LS. 1987) Jack Nicholson. Cher. Susan Sarandon. 118 ntins. Suffocating in the print tranquility of a small towrt in New
England. three single women set their collective brains towards conjuring up the perfect Mr Right. Next morninga mysterious stranger suddenly appears. as if in answer to their prayers. and beginsto charm the pants off tltent. But the ripe. randy and rakislt Daryl vait llorite istlte devil iit disguise. and there is a price topay fortheir pleasure . . . A joyotis.diabolical rontp. with Nicholson ltaving the tinte of his life. (ilasgow: (irosvenor.
I Without A Clue ( P(i ) ('I‘hom liberhardt. CS. 1988) Michael ('aiite. Bert Kingsley.
Jeffrey'Jones. Paul Freeman. 1117 mitts.
Reversal of the Coitait Doyle tradition ltas Kirtgsley's Dr Watson as the smart Alec while Caiite's Sherlock I lolmes is actually an unemployed actor ltircd to maintain Watson's position as a responsible member of the medical profession. The plot concerns Moriarty"s theft of the Treasury‘s £5 notes. btit the film really revolves around the spirited interplay between the two stars. ()ld-fashioned f'tiit. btit Michael Caiite as an unemployed actor'.’ 'I‘hat‘s a hard one to swallow. (ilasgow: Canrton Clarkstoit Road. Cannon The Forge. Salon. Strathclyde: AMC Clydcbank 111. Kelburite.
I Withnail And I ( 15) ( Bruce Robiitsoit. ITK. I987) Patil McCiann. Richard Ii. (irant. Richard (iriffiths. 1117 ittiits. 19(i9. 'I'wo otit of work actors surviving through London giro sqtialor take a break iii a picturesque Lake District cottage. where one of them suffers the attentions oftlte ageing homosexual owner.
Reasonably entertaining British comedy with a tendency to rely on the all-too-easy’ targetsofdrug-taking aitd gay stereotyping for ittticlt of its humour. Iidinburglt: Filmhouse.
I Working Girl ( 15) ( Mike Nichols. trs. 1988) Melanie Ciriffith. Harrison Ford. Sigourney Weaver. Joan Cusack. 114 ntins. Bubbly. antbitious secretary‘Iess Mc(iill ((iriffith) fiitds life touglt as just another Manltattatt secretary. btit bitchy female boss Katharine Parker ( Weaver) teaches lter the art ofself-confidence. So muclt so that when the exec is laid upafter a ski-ing accident. the working girl takes her place. tackles the financial world head-on. arid romances hunky investment broker Jack 'I'rainer ( Ford).
Supremely entertainirtg escapist ﬂuff that takes the old Frank Capra routine and gives it a cortterttporary slteeit. The cast ltave a tremendous time. notably ( iriffith. who eveit gets away with liites like Ive got a ltead for business aitd a body for siit'. (ilasgow: ()deon. Fdinburgh: ()deon. Dominion. Central: Cannon Falkirk. Strathclyde: AMC Clydebaitk 111. WMR Irvine.
I Working Girls ( 18) (Lizzie Borden. l'S. 198(1) Louise Smith. Deborah Baitks. Liz Caldwell. 91 mins. This feminist examination of middle-class prostitution presertts the establisltment almost as art alternative social structure. with the girls as much exploited by the imperious Manhattan madam as the succession of customers. It's a thesis that ltas aroused not a little controversy. btit the adntirably restrained treatment works in the film's favour. (ilasgow: ()deon. lidinburgh: Dominion. ()deon. Central: Cattnort. AMC Clydebank 11). WMR Film Centre. I Un Zoo La Nuit (Night 200) ( ls) (Jean-Claude Lanzon. Canada. 1987) (iilles Maheu. Roger Le Bel. Lynne Adams. 115 mins. Released aftertwo years irt prison. Marcel ( Maheu) firtdsthat his drugs-running past refuses to go away. btit his attention is also focused on rcbuildirtg his relationship with ltis dying father. aitd to that eitd the pair go on a final. unlikely hunting trip together.
The would-be stylish low-life thriller elements of this award-winningCartadian effort don‘t quite conte off. sodirector Lanzon turns to the domestic traumas instead. The result is art intriguing. somewhat broken-backed hybrid of a filnt. Glasgow: (il’l‘.
26 The List 19 May— 1 June 1989