Eduardo Plaar, a young doctor of English heritage, moves from Buenos Aires to a small port town near the border with Paraguay. He engages in an affair with the wife of Britain's inappropriately titled Honorary Consul, Charles Fortnum, an restless alcoholic, and she falls pregnant with his child.
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Shortly afterwards, a group of Plaar's childhood friends appear to inform him that his father, presumed dead, is still alive in a Paraguayan jail. He someone becomes embroiled in their plan to kidnap the United States Ambassador and use him as bait to demand the release of all political prisoners being held in Paraguay.
Their plan falls apart when they accidentally kidnap Fortnum instead of the US Ambassador. Despite the best efforts of Plaar, the situation devolves into chaos and as the movie reaches its conclusion, the kidnappers, Fortnum and Plaar find themselves surrounded by armed police.
Best part of story, including ending:
The movie does get a little bogged down in the feelings of the characters. The book upon which it is based is very character driven, but the tensions that drive them did not come across as well on screen.
Best scene in story:
The first time we meet Charles Fortnum. He is portrayed superbly by Michael Caine, who steals the scene with a virtuoso performance of the drunken, self-important bureaucrat.
Opinion about the main character:
Plaar is played a little too slickly by Richard Gere, who fails to provide him with the emotional depth necessary for us to sympathise with his plight