White supremacist groups in America are animated by a virulent hatred of Jews, blacks, and other minorities. Though few in number, they are heavily armed and well schooled in war and paramilitary activities. These zealots are ready, willing, and able to do anything to advance their cause. Betrayed is a powerful and provocative film about white supremacists in the farmbelt of the Midwest.
Following the bloody assasination of a Jewish talk show host in Chicago, the FBI sends Catherine Weaver (Deborah Winger) to investigate Gary Simmons (Tom Berenger), a widower who lives on a farm with his two young children. She falls in love with him but is repulsed when he takes her on a hunting expedition at night with some of his cronies. The prey turns out to be a black man.
Director Costa-Gavras (Z, State of Siege, Missing) conveys the racist and religious prejudices of these white supremacists who call the U.S. government "ZOG" for Zionest Occupational Government. Joe Eszterhas' script realistically depicts the group's potential to stir violence and incite hatred as they rob a bank to finance their extremist activities and communicate with each other via a national computer network. Deborah Winger gives a stellar performance as a woman whose conscience sets her apart from both the fanaticism of the supremacists and the amoral tactics of the FBI and her boss, played by John Heard. In the end, she realizes how hate can dehumanize even those called to serve the public good.
Friedrich Nietszhe's observation, "He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster," could be applied to Betrayed. This chilling insight makes it one of Costa-Gavras' most sophisticated political films.