Tag: Willem Dafoe

November 14, 2008 / / Film Notes

By KJ Hamilton

Mississippi Burning – 1988 – dir. Alan Parker

The basic plot:  two FBI agents are sent to a small town in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of three young poll workers.  This wouldn’t be a big deal except the film is set in 1964, these pollsters were also civil rights workers, and one of them was African American. The two agents, Anderson (Gene Hackman) and Ward (Willem Dafoe) are as different as night and day. Ward has worked his way up through the ranks by following the strictest protocol. He knows the rule book inside and out.  Anderson, on the other hand, spent the majority of his law enforcement career in a small Southern town.  One agent is a Northerner, the other a Southerner.   The dichotomy of that situation in the context of the rest of the film is quite interesting.  You’ve got black versus white, north versus south, local versus federal, man versus woman. It’s an all-out war.