In 1964 Mississippi, three young Civil Rights workers nervously travel down an empty strectch of road, when three cars begin to closely follow them. Relieved when the sirens begin to flash, the boys pullover and are quickly executed by the members of the sheriff's department as well as the KKK. Afterwards, two FBI agents are sent south to investigate their disappearance. The two men couldn't be anymore different, one older and a southerner who prefers good old boy methods, while the other is a young idealistic Yankee who likes to play things by the book. Soon, both of their methods fail before eventually working and cause a stir in the small town as well as even danger. Soon a small army of federal agents is sent down to aid in the investigation, and the older agent sees a Klan member/sheriff deputy's wife as the key to blowing the lid off the case. Alan Parker's Mississippi Burning vividly and completely captures 1964 small southern town completely in every aspect. The town is alive on the screen and the screen oozes with atmosphere and details. As the older FBI agent, who was previously a sherrif in similar small southern town, delivers the performance of his well rounded career. Willem Dafoe, as his junior agent, and Frances McDormand as the deputy's wife are solid as well. There are problems with the screenplay, which is surprisingly weak and poorly written considering the rest of the talent involved with the film. There have also been complaints about historical inaccuracies and the compressing of events, but the film is such a great realization of time and place, and Hackman is so wonderful in the lead that the film's merits overcome its flaws.