Synopsis by Mark Deming
A powerful political allegory set in an unnamed Latin American country, Men With Guns concerns Dr. Fuentes (Federico Luppi), an elderly physician long involved with a group that trains young people to provide health care for the poverty-stricken citizens of the outlying hill country, where small agricultural communities struggle to survive under primitive living conditions. The doctor has heard rumors that many of his former students are lost and feared dead, so he goes into the hills to investigate. The deeper he digs into the jungle, the more Fuentes finds that the people are menaced by "men with guns'" -- military forces who use torture and execution to intimidate the people, and guerillas from opposition groups whose agenda is only marginally more benign. Accumulating several travelling companions -- a defrocked priest, a deserter from the Army, a boy who survives by stealing, and a woman who has turned mute since she was raped -- Fuentes finds that his journey becomes more revealing but also more perilous the deeper he ventures into the hills. American writer and director John Sayles filmed most of Men With Guns in Spanish (an language he speaks fluently), as well as several indigenous dialects; he claims to have based most of the film's incidents on actual events that have occurred in a number of different Third World nations. Mandy Patinkin has a brief role as an American tourist Fuentes encounters in his travels.
doctor, Latin-America, priest, tourist, investigation, jungle, torture