Betrayed

Betrayed

5.0 2
Director: Costa-Gavras

Cast: Costa-Gavras, Debra Winger, Tom Berenger, John Heard

     
 

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Costa-Gavras' drama Betrayed comes to DVD with a pair of transfers. The widescreen transfer preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is preferable to the standard full-frame image. English, Spanish, and French soundtracks are rendered in Dolby Digital Surround. Spanish and French subtitles are accessible, and the English soundtrack is…  See more details below

Overview

Costa-Gavras' drama Betrayed comes to DVD with a pair of transfers. The widescreen transfer preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is preferable to the standard full-frame image. English, Spanish, and French soundtracks are rendered in Dolby Digital Surround. Spanish and French subtitles are accessible, and the English soundtrack is closed-captioned. Supplemental materials include the original theatrical trailer and a collectible booklet. This is a fine release from MGM.UA.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Director Constantin Costa-Gavras and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas collaborated for the first of two occasions with this inept thriller, reportedly inspired (like the same year's superior Talk Radio) by the 1984 assassination of leftwing radio personality Alan Berg. Debra Winger stars as Cathy Weaver, an FBI agent who slips undercover into the American heartland. She poses as Katie, an itinerant farmer, and attempts to infiltrate a group of white supremacists whose leader, widower Gary Simmons (Tom Berenger), is suspected of murdering a liberal talk show host. Weaver and Simmons fall in love and have an affair, which tears Cathy apart after she comes face-to-face with the depths of Gary's racism, hatemongering, and paranoia. Meanwhile, circumstances threaten to reveal Cathy's identity and put her in grave danger. No one will ever accuse Costa-Gavras of being politically insincere (or a maladroit filmmaker), but he made a horrible decision by partnering up with Eszterhas - who has turned out some fine scripts over the years but specializes in knee-jerk emotional manipulation and provocation of the viewer. In certain contexts (such as Jagged Edge) this works, but in Betrayed, those qualities undermine Gavras's social consciousness - you can constantly feel Eszterhas exploiting a serious subject to set up and deliver empty shocks, as in an ill-conceived sequence that has Gary and his deranged pals hunting and killing a wounded black man in the woods, and another where the men line up to pump ammunition at targets shaped like anti-Semitic caricatures out of Jud Suss. For all one knows, this may be an accurate representation of the white supremacist subculture, but as shown here, it rings entirely false and comes across like a two-dimensional picture of racism. Nor does it help the movie's case when Costa-Gavras and Eszterhas travel far out of their way to damn Middle American Christianity as well, by looping it in with everything else - as in a trip to a "camp" where bigots stand around with Klan masks on their heads, burn crosses, and sing "Amazing Grace" and "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore." This not only leaves a bilious aftertaste, but feels patently offensive and ridiculous. Not all is a loss, here: Winger delivers an extraordinary, nuanced performance that pulls us into her character's confused emotional state, and Berenger convincingly evokes the depths of Gary's pathology. Yet the movie also suffers from the absence of chemistry between them: we never believe that Gary falls in love with Cathy - a very serious problem when the drama hinges on that transition. The film does have an interesting concept at its core - the emotional torture to which FBI agents must regularly subject themselves, in order to keep the rest of us out of harm's way. That idea merits exploration, and could have made the film a singularly fascinating and powerful experience, but we can't be expected to swallow the said theme when so many of the individual story elements fail to add up.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/29/2000
UPC:
0027616837622
Original Release:
1988
Rating:
R
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Time:
2:07:00

Special Features

Collectible booklet; Original theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Debra Winger Katie Phillips/ Cathy Weaver
Tom Berenger Gary Simmons
John Heard Michael Carnes
Betsy Blair Gladys Simmons
John Mahoney Shorty
Ted Levine Wes
Jeffrey DeMunn Flynn
Albert Hall Al Sanders
David Clennon Jack Carpenter
Robert Swan Dean
Richard Libertini Sam Kraus
Maria Valdez Rachel Simmons
Brian Bosak Joey Simmons
Alan Wilder Duffin
Clifford A. Pellow Reverend Russell Johnson
Ralph Foody Lyle
Stephen E. Miller Buster
Tim Jerome Jud/Bartender
Howard Storey Engineer
Bill Dow Man at Gate
Terry David Mulligan Minister
Fred Keating Carpenter's Aide
Dan Conway Man with Glasses
Will Zahrn Man in 30's
Bob Herron Bank Guard
Ed Johnson Band Member
Mimi Bensinger Radio Caller
Bill Corsair Radio Caller
Jack Ackroyd Del
Dolores Drake Toby
Shawn Schepps Betty Jo
Wally Marsh Bureau Chief

Technical Credits
Costa-Gavras Director
Jane Alderman Casting
Shelley Andreas Casting
Patrick Blossier Cinematographer
Patrizia Von Brandenstein Production Designer
Lynne Carrow Casting
Astral Bellevue Pathe Color Cinematographer
Bill Conti Score Composer
Rob Cowan Asst. Director
Leonard Engelman Makeup
Jim Erickson Set Decoration/Design
Joe Eszterhas Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Pierre Gamet Sound/Sound Designer
Stephen Geaghan Art Director
Mary Goldberg Casting
Al Magallon Makeup
Hal W. Polaire Executive Producer
Ken Speed Special Effects
Joe Tompkins Costumes/Costume Designer
Joëlle van Effenterre Editor
Claude Villand Sound/Sound Designer
Joann Wabisca Makeup
Irwin Winkler Producer

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Betrayed 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Berenger plays his best role to date. This film illustrates why the Racist Right never goes away. Most would have you believe they are a bunch of knuckle-scraping morons - if this was the case they'd been gone by now. Berenger plays a charismatic white farmer . The beauty of the film is that it makes you feel that he's the hero and then wham! you find out he is the Klan. It leaves you with many questions. Deborah Winger adds an authentic taste of love, anxiety and the film leaves you wondering who has betrayed her most - the Klan or the FBI.
MagiSci More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely stunning, almost unbelievably provocative movie. The story and setting is so seductive and seditious that it might cause the casual viewer to dismiss it out of hand; simply not believing that, today, Americans could really do this to fellow Americans. I found the characters and performances so excruciatingly real that as the story unfolded I became a willing (and at times, unwilling) observer to a form of social darwinism where religious faith, patriotism and race are the prevailing genetic and environmental forces in the shaping and evolution of America. The movie is not perfect. It has some minor flaws and at times seems to suffer from the cinematic equivalent of aerodynamic drag as it piles on scenes and images that amplify and magnify two opposing views of Americans wrestling with what America is and what it should be. Along with Jasper, Texas, Rosewood and Unforgivable Blackness (to name a few), Betrayed is a brilliant and disturbing look into the dark side of faith, patriotism and race as seeds of a hidden civil war.