Your children have vanished along with your ex-wife. Who do you turn to? the police? the local crime circuit? a lawyer? a private investigator? These were the options for Thomas Hacklin, a law-abiding hard-working Buffalo citizen in this true story. His estranged wife Ruthie had custody of the children. She was dating Jack Scolese, a local hood. When he was arrested after pulling a $300,000 robbery, he expected the Mafia brotherhood to help him out. Instead they looked the other way. Jack turned state's evidence against his bosses and in return was set free, given a new name, home, and location all part of President Johnson's Witness Protection Program administered by the FBI. And since he's married to Ruthie, she and the two kids went along with him.
Hide in Plain Sight has been adapted from Leslie Waller's book and is the occasion for James Caan's debut as a film director. The movie forces us to consider the government's inhumane treatment of a very confused and shattered individual. James Caan sensitively plays the part of Tom Hacklin; Jill Eikenberry is featured as the smart schoolteacher he marries; and Danny Aiello is the lawyer he hires to find where the government has taken his children. Robert Viharo stars as Jack Scolese and Barbara Are is Ruthie. Tom Hacklin's anguished search lasted eight years and his case went all the way to the Supreme Court. While Hide in Plain Sight moves slowly and will win no accolades for its art, the movies does raise some important questions about the rights of individuals in the face of arbitrary institutional policies.