In the early 1950's the House On-American Activities Committee conducted hearings in order to identify Communists in the Hollywood film-making community. David Merrick (Robert DeNiro), totally absorbed in directing successful movies to the exclusion of his ex-wife (Annette Bening, The Grifters) and son has to reassess his priorities when he's called upon to name friends and associates who are card carrying Communists.
After refusing to rat on his best friend Bunny Baxter (George Went, Norm on T.V.'s Cheers), Merrick loses his job and home, and no one in Hollywood will return his calls. Colleagues facing the same pressure to talk either fled the United States, risked jail by refusing to testify, or bowed to the pressure by naming names to avoid being put on Hollywood's blacklist.
Irwin Winkler wrote and directed this powerful slice of America's darker history. DeNiro is terrific as Merrick, a man who struggles between doing what he knows is right, or bending his beliefs for his own self preservation. Patricia Wettig, who plays an actress named as a Communist by her husband, also stands out in the impressive cast.
The committee was one of the most powerful investigative groups ever to preside in U.S. History. The film is an important reminder of our past so that the viewing public can be sure that it never happens again.
|Guilty By Suspicion||B||B+||B+|