Saturday, September 3, 2005

The Siege (1998)

Starring Denzel Washington, Tony Shalhoub, Annette Bening, Bruce Willis, et al
Rated R, 116 minutes

We watched this movie in my current events class last year because of its eerie foreshadowing of 9/11 before the fact. I picked it up right after and am finally getting around to reviewing it.

Sheik Achmed Bin Talal was covertly kidnapped by American forces, greatly shaking up his followers, who are terrorists. They attack New York City on several occasions, while an investigation is on. Anthony Hubbard (Washington) of the FBI and CIA operative Elise Kraft (Bening) are our choice subject, as they work together on less-than-perfect terms.

As the situation worsens, and 600 die in an attack on FBI headquarters, there are rumblings about sending in the army, under General Devereaux (Willis). Once they do, it’s chaos. Arab Americans are fenced in at the local sports arena – even Hubbard’s partner (Shalhoub) sees his son get captured. It’s up to the investigators to put an end to the attacks and the martial law.

I like the relationships between the characters – the human aspect. On the flip side, I really, really didn’t like the casting of Bruce Willis. I almost want to say “stunt casting” because he doesn’t do anything particularly well outside of being Bruce for the purpose of being Bruce. Hard to explain.

Lots of great commentary within though on American and all of that. When Hubbard criticizes the army’s tactics, the general can only respond with, “are you questioning my patriotism?” When Hub and the FBI go in a mechanic’s in search for suspects, they get rudely interrupted by loud army helicopters who blow up the scene in typical fashion. And I like how accurately the Arabs in the film were portrayed. They didn’t try to sugarcoat it by making it overly positive, or stereotypical – just an accurate reflection of their life in America.


Good, but not overly thought-provoking, so you can join at any point and be enthralled to the end. Don't trip over yourself to see it, but if you do, you should come out with a good impression.

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