9 June 2000 | Miles-10
Holds up a decade later for its fine performances
Excellent performances by Armin Mueller-Stahl and Jessica Lange (and even Michael Rooker in a thankless role) make "The Music Box" well-worth seeing (and seeing again). I also appreciated Costa-Gavras's establishing shots such as the dizzying image in a large building as Lazlo and his daughter go up an elevator to meet with federal prosecutors, pigeons on the window sill of the court room, etc. I liked the way Chicago and Budapest are used in the movie as two poles of the story. It is true that a few things do not make sense. Ann Talbot (Lange) accuses the US prosecutor (Frederick Forest) of letting the Hungarian government dictate his case, and the US does seem to rely entirely on Hungarian evidence, never bothering to look for any evidence west of Budapest. There is something to be said, however, for the suspension of disbelief. If the US prosecutors were not so incompetent, then it would not be entirely up to Talbot, the moral center of the movie, to uncover the truth and carry the responsibility for it entirely by herself. It is, by the way, the Hungarians and not the Russians whom Lazlo accuses of trying to frame him.