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In Country

By Paula Nechak

Directors Sidney Lumet, Alan J. Pakula, Sydney Pollack, and Norman Jewison astutely documented the political pulse of the '60s and '70s with such films as Prince of the City, The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor, and In the Heat of the Night. Lumet and Jewison have carried their cinematic social consciousness into their past two decades of filmmaking as well. In Country (1989) is Jewison's mournful look at one American family's struggle to survive the aftermath of Vietnam. The film is based on Bobbie Ann Mason's book and it was Bruce Willis's first effort to break out of his Moonlighting and Die Hard mold by tackling the dramatically dark role of Emmett, a Vietnam veteran whose flashbacks of battle horror have pushed him into isolation from the world. His niece, Samantha (Emily Lloyd), lost her dad in the war, and these two unlikely people form a bond based on a past Emmett can't escape and a future that looms bright and beautiful for Samantha. What Jewison does best is evoke the sense of hope that was once held by the forgotten survivors of that terrible war. In Country ambitiously struggles to pull all of its threads together, and while this is a wonderful character study, it has a messy, meandering structure that never quite gels or answers the questions it poses. Yet there's no denying that the climactic closing scenes have a poignancy and power that will bring tears to anyone watching.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Norman Jewison

Stars: Bruce Willis, Emily Lloyd

Released: September 29, 1989

Availability: DVD VHS


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