1969: a little known revolutionary group kidnaps US ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick in order to spotlight Brazil's military dictatorship. The kidnappers demand the release of political prisoners and, more importantly, air time. The authorities track them down - but dare they endanger the ambassador? The film (from a book by Fernando Gabeira, a journalist who'd participated in the abduction) is somewhat reminiscent of Costa-Gavras, but without the ideological programme. Indeed, Bruno Barreto goes out of his way both to round out the ambassador (Arkin, excellent as usual), and to humanise one of the official torturers. Nor are the radicals romanticised: they're young, naive, and in over their heads. A tense, absorbing, character piece - and a clear, balanced, historical study.
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