Was Mike Laszlo (Müller-Stahl), a retired Hungarian blue-collar worker living in Chicago these last 37 years, once head of an SS death squad? War crimes investigator Burke (Forrest) thinks he was, and in the light of eye-witness reports of Nazi atrocities in Hungary, takes him to court to face extradition charges. Mike's attorney daughter Ann (Lange), defending him, successfully undermines the prosecution by suggesting that its Hungarian witnesses have been sent by a government keen to discredit anti-Commie Europeans...The film is a polished enough blend of courtroom thriller, domestic melodrama and political pot-boiler that asks us, like Ann, to judge Mike's claims of innocence for ourselves; but in its attempts to probe more deeply the gulf between filial loyalty and moral integrity, and the problem of how and why we serve justice on crimes committed half a century ago, it is often overly shallow and cautious. Costa-Gavras wisely avoids facile flashbacks, but the cool tone, fascination with architecture and visual symmetry, and sluggish pacing of the trial scenes preclude real emotional and intellectual involvement, sturdy performances from a solid cast notwithstanding.
Cast and crew
Cheryl Lynne Bruce