Title: Mississippi Burning
Director: Allan Parker
- Gene Hackman as Mr. Anderson
- Willem Dafoe as Mr. Ward
- Frances McDomand as Mrs. Pell
- Brad Dourif as Deputy Clinton Pell
- R. Lee Ermey as Mayor Tilman
- Gailard Sartain as Sheriff Ray Stuckey
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Clayton Townley
- Michael Rooker as Frank Bailey
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Lester Cowans
Year of production: 1988
In the beginning of the film we see two drinking fountains, one is for white people and one is for coloured people. First a white man drinks from the fountain for white people, and then we see a boy who drinks from the other fountain. We can hear gospel music in the background. After a while we see a burning church.
Then the music changes and we see three boys (civil rights workers) who drives a car down a long road, they are chased of what they think is the police. But in reality it’s some members of the Ku Klux Klan and the deputy, who also is a member of the K-K-K. The boys are stopped out on a field and the men kill the three young boys and hide their bodies.
Two FBI agents are sent down to Jessup County where the boys were helping the coloured people to vote. The Sheriffs office is not keen on helping the FBI agents. They say they think that the civil right workers have just played them a trick and are sitting up in New York laughing of them, although they know that they are dead.
One of the FBI agents is an older man from the south (Mr. Anderson), and the other one is a young city boy (Mr. Ward). The two agents have extremely different ways of working to solve the case. The young boy is a pedant and wants to follow bureau procedure, but the older man wants to follow his own rules.
Mr. Ward gets over a hundred men down to help him solve the case. They combed the swamps but found nothing. After a while Mr. Ward realizes that his methods aren’t working out and that they don’t help on the black people’s situation. It’s just making bad matters worse so he agrees to try out Mr. Anderson’s tactic. Mr. Anderson gets on a good dialog with the deputy’s wife and he understands that she is the key to the mystery. She tells Mr. Anderson, despite that she is married to the deputy, where the bodies are. The FBI finds the dead bodies in a big mound out on a farm. All of the suspects were condemned except from the sheriff who became acquitted, but later on hang himself in the basement because of quilt.
The story is told chronologically, we see how the case develops and how it ends with the convictions. There are There are many small and bigger conflicts, but the biggest one throughout the whole film is the hatred between the coloureds and the whites, and how some people handle it. There are also a lot of climaxes, one of these are when Mr. Ward agrees to use Mr. Andersons methods, another one is when Mrs. Pell defies Mr. Pell and tells Mr. Anderson where the bodies are hidden.
This is a film which brings out strong feelings. We see the situation for the blacks in the 1960’s, how they are depressed and treated like dogs. This is a subject which always will be inflamed. The maker of this movie wants to inform the viewers about how the situation was for the coloured people in the South in the 60’s, and tell us that it is important to remember the past so the people of the future want do the same mistakes.
I liked the film, but I think it was very cruel. However I can’t change what happened in the past. I think that scene when the K-K-K members lynched the black man was one of the worst scenes. Because it did show us how some ended their lives because of what other people believed was right.