Written by / 5/16/2018 / No comments / , , , , ,

TOM BERENGER & DEBRA WINGER IN 'BETRAYED' WITH TED LEVINE

Tom Beranger and his dog Ronnie in Betrayed YEAR: 1988
A highly entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable film about an FBI agent, played by the always reliable on screen (yet supposedly monstrous off-screen) Debra Winger, who goes undercover to white bread Farmland USA (as a combine driver) to learn about a man, played by Tom Berenger, who might not only be racist, but responsible for murdering a controversial Jewish disc jockey (Howard Stern sans any charm or humor)...

She begins to fall for Tom while slowly realizing he's not just a handsome farmer/family man, and yet remains optimistically skeptical about his involvement in the case until... something happens, less than an hour in and much too quickly, that just about ruins the film: He takes her on a group "hunting trip" — for a human, not animal, target: This scene's obvious purpose is so the audience can hate Tom's character — after all, he and his pals are likable, and in some aspects, being part of the neglected working class, relatable (a natural, low-key performance by John Mahoney adds to that)...

Ted Levine knows more than John Mahoney
But what makes the scene utterly ridiculous is believing anyone with so much to lose would ever completely expose his agenda to a woman he hardly knows; and even a moderate racist would be shocked by actual murder, if only for their own self preservation from the law...

Score: ***1/2
Well from this point things go downhill slowly, although there's still an edgy feeling she might get discovered, and some palpable suspense remains...

Particularly on a weekend camping-trip gathering of racists (from the KKK to Neo Nazis) where sustained whispers of a possible political uprising mounts that, before and after, Winger brings back to suited Chicago agents John Heard and Albert Hall: one her ex boyfriend, the other pointing out that war veterans are only respected because of the decade that he obviously (along with the writer) looks down upon: Speaking of: BETRAYAL is a well-done 80's film that isn't dated because of it...

More mainstream than the director's attempt at being controversial, and perfectly suited with Tom Berenger as the villain but with realistic, tough and stubborn, down-home charm (a dichotomy he was no stranger to). But it's Ted Levine... famous (or wonderfully infamous) as "Buffalo Bill" in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS... who steals the show as a killer's-killer suspicious of Winger from the get-go, even when the others don't want her to be. An example of a sidekick/secondary villain keener, sharper, cagier and downright smarter than their boss. Although she does start to grow on him: Providing who would usually be a fourth or fifth banana into a character with an actual arc, and damn important. After all, it's "Wes" that our intrepid heroine really has to convince.
Tom Berenger hands over the gun to mercenary, Wes (Ted Levine)... to kill his son's injured horsey
Ted Levine notices that Debra Winger's taking one too many photographs... and asks why...
Here's the scene where he notices she's a bit too snappy...
Tom Berenger Betrayed Tom Berenger Ted Levine Betrayed Ted Levine Tom Berenger Ted Levine
The image you'll  usually see of Levine in Betrayed... He even makes this Cult Film Freak LIST of underrated villains
"She's a better shot than you!" Uncle Wes shows notice our novice child actress darling how to shoot
And Ted Levine plays a mean guitar, baby (you can't fake that)... And provides an Oak Ridge Boy vocal bass...
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