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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Beyond the Call
Directed by Tony Bill
Hallmark Home Entertainment 06/96 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - strong language, some violence

It was the longest war in United States history and perhaps the most controversial. Decades later, the Vietnam War is still with us.

Beyond the Call is a compelling drama about the walking wounded who can't quite dispel the demons of that war. Sissy Spacek plays Pam, a Connecticut housewife who lives with her husband Keith (Arliss Howard) and two children. Her tranquil life is upended when the sister of Russell (David Strathairn), an old boyfriend, calls up and asks her to see him. It turns out that he's on death row in South Carolina for killing a cop. Pam goes to see him and soon finds herself drawn into his life. He helps her understand what went wrong in their relationship.

This searing drama, written by Doug Magee, cuts to the quick with its insights about the barbarity of the Vietnam War and the dehumanizing process of capital punishment. Director Tony Bill draws out astonishing performances from Strathairn and Spacek. All of the pain does result in a healing that comes as a note of grace late in the story.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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