After the considerable delights of Breaking Away and The Janitor, Yates and writer Steve Tesich are clearly floundering with this adaptation of Nicholas Gage's book. A New York Times reporter (Malkovich) gets himself transferred to the Athens office on the pretext of investigating atrocities committed during the Greek Civil War of the '40s. There, he traces the events that led to his mother Eleni's execution at the hands of the Commie 'liberators'. Bent on revenge, he tracks down the main culprit... As an obsessive vengeance thriller, this is strangely flat, flawed by a cool performance from the usually reliable Malkovich. Worse, however, are the flashbacks to the peasant village of Lia, an arena of endless betrayal and self-sacrifice among the black-clad womenfolk. Nelligan's eponymous martyr is both a paragon of maternal virtue and a caricature of Hellenic emotionalism, while life in Lia is portrayed in shallow fashion as picturesquely primitive and poverty-stricken. Worst of all is Cotton's villain, an unmotivated sadistic oppressor with all the subtle characteristics of a '40s Hollywood Nazi.
Cast and crew