Ghosts Of Mississippi

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Ghosts Of Mississippi

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Ghosts Of Mississippi

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In this true story, Alec Baldwin plays a white Southern lawyer who delves into the past to convict Byron De La Beckwith, the assassin of civil-rights activist Medgar Evers, decades after the murder took place. While this is a story worth telling, director Rob Reiner turns Ghosts Of Mississippi into a blueprint for how to botch even the worthiest story. The problem begins almost the moment the credits—which condense images from slavery and the civil-rights struggle into a few minutes—end. After a brief sequence portraying Evers' slaying and his killer's release, the movie turns its focus to Baldwin's character. Why? Evers' widow, distantly played in little more than a cameo by Whoopi Goldberg, fought for years to have Beckwith retried, but the movie portrays none of this. Goldberg doesn't even seem to age, only change hairstyles, between 1963 and 1989. It's as if the film has robbed her of both her narrative and any visual sign that anything significant has happened until Baldwin's white knight enters her life, just as the credit sequence sets up black history as a prelude to white redemption. In lieu of human drama, we get a detailed, and not particularly gripping, look at Baldwin's investigative process and the inevitable dramatic courtroom finale. It's history as John Grisham might have re-written it, and there's already been enough of that lately.

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