The film also implicitly exposes the powerlessness of individual citizens in a population in dealing with major governmental institutions. Individuals confronting personal losses easily grow disgruntled with their own governments. And the United States is shown to be no exception to this rule, as both Beth and Charles find it near impossible to get their requests heeded. The fact that Charles Horman was ‘executed’ Chilean authorities with the complicity of American diplomats validates citizens’ grievances against governments. As movie reviewer Vincent Canby notes in his article for the New York Times,
“It is the belief of Mr. Costa-Gavras, as well as of Thomas Hauser, the lawyer who wrote the book on which the film is based, that young Mr. Horman was executed by Chilean authorities, probably with the tacit approval of some United States representatives on the scene, because he had knowledge of United States involvement in the military coup that had overthrown the Marxist government of Dr. Salvador Allende Gossens, the Chilean President” (Canby, 1982)
It is a genuine reflection of the merit of the film that it was nominated under several categories in the year’s Academy Awards. It rightly won the award for best Writing Adapted Screenplay and richly deserved nominations in Best Actor (Jack Lemmon), Best Actress (Sissy Spacek) and Best Picture categories. More importantly, it on the Golden Palm award in Cannes Film Festival of the same year. The other technical aspects of the film, such as cinematography or editing are nearly not as perfect. But the strong script line and emphasis on right areas compensate for these small shortcomings.
Movie Review, Missing (1982), NYT Critics’ Pick, ‘MISSING’ BY COSTA-GAVRAS’ By VINCENT CANBY, Published: February 12, 1982, retrieved from < http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9507E7D7123BF931A25751C0A964948260> on 25th June, 2011
Missing (1982), A review by Damian Cannon., Copyright © Movie Reviews UK 1997, retrieved from <http://www.film.u-net.com/Movies/Reviews/Missing.html> on 25th June, 2011