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Music Box [DVD] [1989]

Release Date:05/20/2003
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Please don't rent Costa-Gavras' 1989 The Music Box under the impression that you're going to see the 1932 Laurel and Hardy 3-reeler of the same name. Do rent the Costa-Gavras film if you're in the mood for a probing sociodomestic drama containing one of Jessica Lange's best-ever performances. Lange plays an attorney whose affable Hungarian-immigrant father Armin Mueller-Stahl is, rather surprisingly, arrested. He is threatened with deportation for lying about his activities during World War II; part of the charge is that Mueller-Stahl was a Nazi collaborationist, guilty of wartime atrocities. Absolutely convinced that her father is being railroaded by a revenge-seeking Hungarian communist government, Lange handles Mueller-Stahl's defense, expertly blowing huge holes in prosecuting attorney Frederic Forrest's case. But in doing her own research, Lange discovers that her father has spent a lifetime paying off a blackmailer. Why? In contrast to the fervency of his earlier Z, Costa-Gavras refuses to make things easy by proselytizing in The Music Box (nor does screenwriter Joe Esterhaz indulge in his usual right-between-the-eyes fervency). Everything in the film is offered on the same calm, collected level, making the ultimate horror of the story all the more effective.


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