Carlos Rueda (Antonio Banderas), his wife Cecilia (Emma Thompson) and daughter Teresa (Leticia Dolera) are living in Buenos Aries, Argentina during 1976. Carlos is a mild mannered theatre director and Cecilia, a journalist. They are a typical family living in a time of dictatorship and political turmoil (which continued until 1983).
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Everything seems to be going well until Cecilia decides to write a very controversial article. Many people have been disappearing without a trace. There have been several incidents where mysterious machine gun carrying men in green Fords have grabbed people from the streets, their homes, their work and even churches. Most people have been afraid to talk about this but the protests are becoming more and more frequent. Cecilia believe that someone from the press must speak out but Carlos argues that it shouldn't be her. Friends Silvio Ayala (Ruben Blades) and Esme Palomares (Maria Canals) agree with Carlos adamantly. Their conversation is interrupted by a commotion in the square. There are ladies wearing white scarves, carrying photos and marching in the plaza. Someone asks what is going on and the reply is that these are mothers of the missing. Cecilia decides to publish her article and the whole family will soon find this is a terrible mistake.
Few days go by before Cecilia receives a visit from the men in the green Ford. She is pushed into the car and screams for her husband as it speeds away to an unknown location. The event is witnessed by a neighbor man who goes to the police with Carlos. The officers don't seem to be too concerned by the missing persons report and even presses the witness into saying he may have been mistaken. Frustrated by their response, Carlos decides to search on his own.
Many months go by with fruitless efforts but Carlos does not give up. He enters the theatre after a particularly bad afternoon and is met by his friends who are very agitated. One of the star actors wants to quit the play and they tell Carlos to find out why. He confronts the boy who tells him that the men have taken his father. He is afraid he will not return but when Carlos touches they boy's hands he sees a vision. It is the vision of what has happened to the boy's father and the future of his fate. He tells the young actor not to worry as his father will be returned soon. The next night the boy rushes in and thanks Carlos because his father has come home.
This in only the first of Carlos' visions as he begins to see the fate of many. At times he can see his own wife and the picture is not pretty. She is being tortured and badly beaten. He shakes these visions at first but then realizes that they may be a key to finding her. He begins to hold readings for other families as well. This seriously disturbs a prominent general and he sends in a spy to gain more information. Carlos immediately senses this man is not honest and confronts him during a reading. The fake has a tape recorder strapped under his shirt and Carlos sends the general a direct message. The next day Teresa is taken.
By now, the mild mannered man is becoming more and more aggressive. He even considers assassinating the general but stops himself at the perfect shot. Instead, he chooses to voice his rage in a play depicting the general as the red death. This does not sit well with the men in the green Ford and they pay a visit to the theatre after hours. They proceed to shoot the place up and take Silvio away as a terrorist. Carlos is further angered because the whole point was for him to be taken instead hoping he would find Cecilia. Meanwhile, the tortured images of his wife and daughter continue to haunt him. He feels he must wait for their return but cannot resist exploring the signs.
During a trip to the Pampas, he comes across a house in from his dreams. He visits the people who were very hospitable. They send Carlos to visit their son in Buenos Aries and this leads to another clue which he pursues. These clues continue to come but so do the graphic images of torture. Can he find his wife and daughter before it is too late?
The review of this Movie prepared by Talea