Purpose one: writing a travelogue to describe my various trips.

Purpose two: muse.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Siege, Prescient Movie from 1998

The Siege came out in 1998, three years before 9/11. It anticipated a lot of the controversies arising out of the reaction to this terrible event, such as the Patriot Act and the use of torture. Of course, the writers did not know of specific legislation ironically called "Patriot," and the issue of rendition did not come up in the movie. Nevertheless, it is an outstanding treatment of the issues surrounding the war on terror.

Below is one of the better bits in the movie. General Devereaux (Bruce Willis) and Elise Kraft (Annette Bening) is talking about how to get information out of a captured terrorist while a stupefied FBI Agent Hubbard (Denzel Washington) watches, then launches a supreme, if short, soliloquy.

The movie is not perfect. I found Bening unconvincing as a CIA officer, let alone a high-placed one. She is too emotional. I do not believe women (or men) with that kind of conscience are likely to end up in the position Kraft is implied to possess, or would at least not confess openly to strangers with no clearance.

In the movie, Washington plays the hero, a diligently principled FBI agent. In reality, the FBI is as big a threat to our civil liberties as other Federal agencies. The FBI got an undeserved favorable treatment in the movie, but I do understand they needed a Federal cop with some authority to get the script to work. I liked Washington's character here and believe there must be officers like him in the real world.

They went over the top a bit with the domestic application of the military towards the end, but it works to increase the action and the drama. If you have not seen this movie, again or at all, since 9/11, add it to your Netflix queue or run down to your favorite video store and get it now.

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