Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Jessica Lange plays an attorney whose affable Hungarian-immigrant father Armin Mueller-Stahl is arrested. He is threatened with deportation for lying about his activities during World War II; part of the charge is that Mueller-Stahl was a Nazi collaborationist, guilty of wartime atrocities. Absolutely convinced that her father is being railroaded by a revenge-seeking Hungarian communist government, Lange handles Mueller-Stahl's defense, expertly blowing huge holes in prosecuting attorney Frederic Forrest's case. But in doing her own research, Lange discovers that her father has spent a lifetime paying off a blackmailer. Why? In contrast to the fervency of his earlier Z, Costa-Gavras refuses to make things easy by proselytizing in The Music Box (nor does screenwriter Joe Esterhas indulge in his usual right-between-the-eyes fervency). Everything in the film is offered on the same calm, collected level, making the ultimate horror of the story all the more effective.
blackmail, daughter, father, lawyer, Nazi, trial [courtroom], war-crimes