23 September 2004 | film-critic
He named his dog after Ronald Reagan.
This was one of those mythological films that I speak so highly of in other reviews. This was a gem hidden in the darkness. Looking at the cover, you would never guess that this would be such a powerhouse of a film, but let me be the first to say that it was.
Berenger and Winger are amazing in their roles. Winger giving the best performance that I have ever seen her do, while Berenger takes a character riddled with evil and makes him human. When I first began this film, I was expecting a very true Hollywood production. One that would be dark at first, but all of the sudden create this happy world at the end. This film did nothing close to that. What was amazing about this film was that it let the audience make it's own decisions. Not much was handed to you on a silver platter.
Upon the first ten minutes of this film, you would probably assume that it was a love story. It is anything BUT a love story. It is a crime/thriller/drama film, and quite possibly one of the strongest that I have seen in some time. There are some scenes in this film that I couldn't believe I was watching. The sheer brilliance of the director left me wondering if this film was really made in 1988. The cinematography was outstanding. There is one scene that stands out the most in my mind. After Berenger tries to "put down" his dying horse, he can't pull himself to shoot a living creature, so he has his side-kick do it. After it is done, he runs out into the rain behind Berenger wrapped in a plastic tarp. The image here is of the devil riding close behind. It is so vivid and so beautifully done that you can't help to wonder what that may represent. There are a couple of scenes very similar to this as well.
Now, this isn't a film without some small flaws. The young girl was annoying. Perhaps I find young children in these types of films always to be annoying, but in this case it was especially bad. Also, there were some dopey scenes to this film. There were some parts that I felt I was the director of the film watching some bad lines happen between Berenger and Winger ... but it was only a couple.
Betrayed ends like an open-ended question. It tells you that justice has been served, but not eliminated. It does not paint a pretty picture of our society. Be prepared if you see this for some embarrassing, yet disturbing images of ethnic hatred in this film. Some scenes that you will not believe ever happens in our country, but in the back of your mind you know certain evils do exist. But then also be prepared to see John Mahoney (of Say Anything... fame) do his best work ever. The war took his son, the bank took his land, why shouldn't he fight in this battle of supremacy? Dark and impressive ... WOW, I am lucky to have found this one.
Grade: ***** out of *****