Racism will always be around, no matter how we try and make it stop. Of course we can do what we can try to prevent it from happening, but at the same time you can never stop racists completely. So the best way to handle them, is show them that we don´t approve any kind of racism at all. I know families from many different countries, where some of them have been victims of racism. And it is so sad that in 2018, we still have racist people hating colored people. We are all humans and should not be judged by the color of our skin. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the people who really did made a big impact, trying to help black people to be accepted in society, and not judged by the color of their skin. Unfortunately, he was murdered on April 4th in 1968. But the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr still lives on, and many people are still inspired by his classic speech " I Have A Dream ". In Hollywood, we have had several films that brings up the subject of racism. One film that is considered to be a 90´s classic is the 1998 movie called American History X. Directed by Tony Kaye, this is a very realistic portrait about American Nazi brothers who spread hate. Edward Norton as the older Nazi brother Derek Vinyard, is a really powerful performance, and Edward Furlong as the younger brother Danny Vinyard also gives a really good performance. The biggest reason why American History X is such a great film, is because the film really shows you how racism destroy people´s lives. Let´s go back to the year of 1988, when director Alan Parker released his film Mississippi Burning that was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, and won one award for best Cinematography. But the film did made a very strong impact with audiences and with movie critics worldwide. The film is based loosely on the true murder investigation in 1964, when 3 boys named Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were brutally murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. I have not seen this film for many years, i think it must be over 15 years since i saw it the last time. But when i saw this year that Mississippi Burning is turning 30 years old, i felt that i should watch the film again to see if the film made a powerful impact on me, so many years later. With an amazing cast such as Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Brad Dourif and many others with a legendary director on board, is Mississippi Burning still one of the best motion pictures that brings up racism ? Or have this film aged with time and don´t leave the same impact as the film used to do ?
In 1964, three civil right workers - two Jewish and one black - go missing while organizing a voter registry for African Americans in Jessup County, Mississippi. The FBI sends two agents, Rupert Anderson ( Gene Hackman ) and Alan Ward ( Willem Dafoe ) to investigate the missing young men. They find it hard to interview anyone, since they are not welcome there according to white racists. Rupert and Alan try to get help from Sheriff Ray Stuckey ( Gailard Sartain ) and Deputy Sheriff Clifton Pell ( Brad Dourif ) and their men. They don´t care what happened to the Jewish boys or the black boy, and this clearly shows that they might know what happened to them. Agent Alan tries to talk to families in the black society, with not a lot of help. So when he finally get information on where the missing car have been found in a swamp, Agent Alan calls in everyone that can search for the bodies. The boys are found dead, and all the evidence so far shows that members of the Ku Klux Klan is behind the murders. The Ku Klux Klan refuse to give themselves in, and will fight against both FBI and continue to destroy black peoples lives, no matter what they have to do to win this war.
Mississippi Burning may be 30 years old, but this film is just as good as the first time i watched it. You have a really disturbing story of 3 murdered young men, and how black people are being beaten up, murdered and their homes burned down by the Ku Klux Klan. Knowing that this film is based on true events, make this film even more horrific. Let´s get into the acting and the characters. Willem Dafoe as FBI Agent Alan Ward, a man who work very hard for justice. Dafoe is a really good choice for this character, and he goes all in for his performance. Gene Hackman as FBI Agent Rupert Anderson is the absolute highlight of this film. Hackman explodes on the cinema screen, and deliver such a strong acting performance, that you can feel his anger. Brad Dourif as Deputy Sheriff Clinton Pell is another really strong character, and i have to say that Dourif also deliver a very strong performance. We also have the legendary actor Ronald Lee Ermey ( who we unfortunately lost this year in April ) as Mayor Tillman, who does another outstanding performance. Actor Frances McDormand ( who especially made a iconic character in Fargo by The Cohen Brothers ) as the abused wife Mrs. Pell is another performance you feel for in this film. One of the biggest reasons why Mississippi Burning is such a powerful film, is the realistic portrait of how the Ku Klux Klan destroyed so many peoples lives in Mississippi during the 60´s. To see racist families see black people as trash, and treat them like they are not humans, is really horrible. Director Alan Parker ( who made the classic 1978 film Midnight Express ) have really found a way to express how bad racism was in the 60´s in Mississippi. He tell this story very brutal, but in an honest way. I also feel that director Alan Parker capture the image of Ku Klux Klan very clear, that these members are low educated people who have a very low intelligence level, and this comes across very clear when you hear how they think. The murder case of the 3 young men also becomes a very interesting part of the film, as we follow the investigation. The scenes where Gene Hackmans character Agent Rupert become really angry, to beat up Ku Klux Klan member Sheriff Clinton feels good. To see his racist ass get beaten by justice is something we should see more often. Another detail that this film manage to do well, is show us that small towns like in Mississippi during the 60´s had a really bad attitude against anything that was not seen as American. This is one of director Alan Parker´s best films, and a film that should be shown in schools everywhere. We need to stop racism in every form, and Mississippi Burns still makes a really powerful impact on me after all there years. Get a Blu Ray of this film and show the whole family a piece of history that will never be forgotten.