Story: After some violent incidents involving white supremacist groups, FBI special agent Cathy (Debra Winger) is assigned to infiltrate one of the active operations, as part of an undercover program. She finds herself quickly close to Gary (Tom Berenger), who happens to be one of the primary targets of the undercover work. The two begin to pursue a romantic entanglement and while she knows she is on the clock, she begins to get close to Gary and starts to fall for him. As he opens up to her, she begins to doubt the charges against him and she wonders if the information her bosses have collected could be misguided. But is Gary truly innocent of the horrific claims, or has he just figured out how to manipulate Cathy to his advantage?
Entertainment Value: Betrayed is a solid thriller, but it tends to focus on a lackluster romantic thread too much, when the narrative around the social/political elements would have been a better anchor. The story still invests a good amount of time into the thriller aspect of course, but when it veers into the romantic slide, the film stalls at times. The pace slows and the tension begins to deflate in those instances, which is a shame, as the steady intensity in the atmosphere is one of the movie’s strongest points. So while it still packs a nice punch in that area, less time on the relationship elements could have worked wonders here. Even so, overall the movie provides more than solid entertainment and given the talent involved, still works well enough even in the weaker stretches. The final act does tend to be rather weak, but the skills of the stars and chemistry between the leads helps soothe those concerns. So if you like thrillers with some social threads woven in, give Betrayed a spin.
While I think the romantic angle is a weaker part of Betrayed, it still manages to work thanks to the leads involved. Tom Berenger and Debra Winger have good chemistry here and that elevates the rather lackluster romantic plot more than a little. In other words, while the scenes still grind the pace and intensity down, they are enjoyable to watch thanks to how well the leads perform and work together. Berenger is of course a favorite of this site and this role is an interesting one, giving him some room to flex his skills often enough. He is saddled with some poor writing choices late in the picture, but he does what he can. Winger is also quite good and deals with the same writing woes toward the finale, but again, the two earn their keep and carry the material well. The cast also includes Ted Levine, John Heard, and John Mahoney.
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