Interesting Fact Based Thriller
Luis Hernandez | New York, New York, USA | 09/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on actual events, "A Show of Force" was based on the scandalous Cerro Maravilla incident that rocked Puerto Rican politics in 1978. On July 25, 1978, two young independence-seekers were ambushed by island police and murdered in cold blood near Cerro Maravilla. Police reports claim that the activists were trying to sabotage a radio transmitter to air pro-independence messages throughout the island, however after a serious investigation by the Puerto Rican government, it was discovered that this was a planned murder sponsored by the governor at the time, Carlos Romero Barcelo, and members in his pro-statehood administration.The scandal which left a major mark on the dirtiness of Puerto Rican politics, helped paved the way to Barcelo's defeat by pro-Commonwealth governor, Rafael Hernandez Colon, and destroyed the statehood party's reputation forever.This film, directed by Brazilian director, Bruno Bareto, stars Amy Irving, as Kate, an investigative reporter working for a local newspaper. After uncovering the truth behind the massive cover-up by the governor, Kate is determined to uncover the truth even more so than before. However, danger lurks around, as both FBI and the governor's allies monitor her moves.Based on actual events, "A Show of Force" is partly-fictional, however it does open the viewer's eyes that injustice, oppression, and corruption can exist even in a democratic free country as the United States. Although some of the film seems to be outdated and/or inaccurate (clothes, economic development, etc..) other parts of the film remain interesting enough to retain the viewer in a suspenseful state.Amy Irving, who later married Bareto (after her divorce from Stephen Spielberg, she began filming in Puerto Rico) is an excellent actress, and her role is believable. Lou Diamond Phillips is excellent as a villain you will love to hate, and Andy Garcia's role is indeed a "glorified cameo". While the film ends on a different note (the film has Kate capturing the police chief's confession on tape, when in fact it took more than 15 years of senate hearings and investigations by human rights groups to finally reveal the truth about the cover-up) the film will allow many who have little or no knowledge about Puerto Rico's complex colonial situation with the United States to gain a broader understanding. Filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico and neighboring suburbs, this film should be watched by all who support human rights throughout the world."
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Luis Hernandez | 05/28/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Shots shatter the silence a top a foggy mountain in the tropical island, as the two dead bodies fall to the ground...Government conspiracy, political cover up, spies and corruption are the ingredients of this film based on the true story of the events that happened back in the 70'S, about the murder of two puertorrican students that were in favor of Puerto Rico's independence, in a time where people who favored this political view were being black listed and harrassed, by the government.One of the students was the son of a well known writer. Having been in Puerto Rico when all of this took place,and when the movie was shown in theaters there, I have to say that this movie is only a brief portrayal of the much more complex true story.The film is based on the book Murder under two flags, by Anne Nelson. Interesting to watch , even with it's geographical and cultural inaccuracies. In one scene, we see the students taking a cab to the Cerro Maravilla which is deep in the country side, however the cab is going in the wrong direction towards Old San Juan( Old San juan sits in a peninsula/island conected to the larger island by one bridge, which they had left behind). Also, they show the locals wearing clothes from the 40's, and make the island look like a banana republic which I thought was ridiculous. They show old trucks hauling chickens, people wearing straw hats, and a third world kind of atmosphere that even for that time, is inaccurate. Andy Garcia wears a hat, and dresses like Orvil Reddenbucker, bow tie and all! Needless to say we all laughed outloud in the theater,it was insulting and funny at the same time. The real life Rivera Cruz-the prosecutor- actually wore designer suits, and no hat! I guess Hollywood will never let a latin american country be shown as a modern city with well dressed,clean cut, educated people. We need Latin directors and producers who know the culture, to start pointing out this things to the big studios, because the people who do the research on culture for set and fashion design are way off, believe me,I know, I'm puertorrican, born and raised. The director, Bruno Barreto, is brazilian, and probably meant well by trying to show us a 70's Puerto Rico.Next time they should first contact the Instituto de cultura de Puertorriqueño(Cultural institute of Puerto Rico)and they gladly will provide the historical and cultural background needed for this type of movie. The movie is good although I didn't like the ending, it was too cliché. The movie features great puertorrican actors like, Tony Chiroldes, Michelle Corbiere, and Claribel Medina to name a few. These three are fully bilingual and I wonder why they haven't appear in more films, because I know there is a shortage of well train bilingual spanish/english speaking actors in the industry.All in all is a movie that shouldn't be missed. I bought it."