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Ghosts of Mississippi Reviews

Remember the righteous furor over MISSISSIPPI BURNING? Rob Reiner doesn't -- how else could one explain his determination to recast the Civil Rights Movement as a battle fought by noble white men? Reiner's sorry film is a dramatization of one of the more abominable episodes (the brutal 1963 slaying of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, and the eventual conviction of his killer, Byron De La Beckwith, 31 years after the fact) in the history of a movement brimming with abominable episodes. Alec Baldwin stars as Mississippi Assistant D.A. Bobby DeLaughter, who, in 1989 was handed the newly reopened case against the elderly Beckwith (James Woods), a case that previously ended in two highly suspicious mistrials. Who Evers was and what his murder meant to millions of people is barely touched on. Neither is the subsequent career of his widow, Myrlie (briefly sketched here by Whoopi Goldberg), who became a prime mover within the NAACP. What's at stake in this movie is the soul of DeLaughter, a successful white lawyer who first must find enough of himself in Evers before he can truly empathize with the tragedy of his death. This already dreadful film is at its worst when it encourages the comparison.