A young FBI agent gains sympathy for a former 1960s antiwar protester he must transport for trial. [ Flashback credits: Dir: Franco Amurri/ Dennis Hopper, Kiefer Sutherland, Carol Kane/ 108 min/ Abuse of power, Anti-draft]
This story of an aging radical from the 1960s awakening a young FBI agent to his true (heretofore repressed) self is one that libertarians will certainly enjoy.
It begins in 1989, when the radical, who has been sought for decades by the FBI for a harmless but illegal prank that long ago embarrassed Spiro Agnew, is finally caught. The ever-vengeful FBI is intent on pressing charges—and in this case that means fifteen years to life. The FBI assigns a young agent to transport the captured protestor to the appointed legal venue.
In the course of bringing the protester to trial, however, the two become involved in an unexpected adventure in which the agent is coincidentally put in touch with his own links to the 1960s. It turns out that his parents were 1960s radicals, and he himself was raised by them in a hippie-type environment. He had cut himself off from his parents and denied his past out of pressure to conform; but now memories of his happy youth come flooding back, and he suddenly becomes sensitized to the injustice of this harmless protestor being sent to prison. But will he have the courage to chuck his hard-earned career and do what his heart tells him is right?
All this may sound serious, but Flashback is as much a comedy as anything else. In the course of the dialogue, the FBI agent, an uptight conservative, bears the brunt of unending quips and barbs from the antiwar protestor. Dennis Hopper, in the latter role, delivers these comic lines with flair. The story strains credulity at times, but if you can suspend judgment a little, it’s a fun watch. It has a surprise conclusion, so stay with it to the end.
“Credit is obviously due to the filmmakers, but Dennis Hopper puts the right spin on a difficult character and makes Flashback special. How long has it been since a movie gave us not only everything the trailer promised, but more?”