The Music Box (1989)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Costa Gavras
Run Time
2 hours and 4 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★3.5 out of 5

Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours 4 min.

Our content ratings (1-10): Violence 3; Language 2; Sex/Nudity 0.

Our star rating (1-5): 3.5

 Repay them according to their work, and according to the evil of their deeds; repay them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.

Psalm 28:4

How do you tell a monster from a normal family man? Not so easily, Ann Talbot (Jessica Lange) learns. She is a successful lawyer when she is called on to defend her father Mike Lasso (Armin Mueller-Stahl) of the charge that he was once a murderous pro-Nazi policeman in Hungary almost 50 years ago. The Laszlo family is close-knit, and the father a highly respected member of the community. Thus the charges make them draw even closer together as they face an increasingly hostile world.

Ann is determined to prove that the witnesses are either lying or have faulty memories. She is able to dispose of some of them, but as she hears the haunting stories of children and parents brutalized and murdered by the Nazis and their helper, her sympathy is aroused, because she also is a mother. And when certain facts seem to stick, doubts enter her mind. Her search for the truth leads to Budapest and into the dark corners of a world gone mad with prejudice and ruthlessness. But the truth emerges from something within her own home – a music box. And then she must make the most agonizing decision of her life.

A memorable film by Costa Gavras, but not as on the mark as his political thriller Z. This is more of a courtroom thriller centering on Ann, rather her father. We really learn little about him, before or after he came to America. And given the nature of this type of film, is there really any mystery as to whether or not he is guilty of being a Nazi?


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