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The Siege (SE)
DVD disk
May 15, 2007 By: Mathew Plale
The Siege (SE) order
Director:
Edward Zwick

Actors:
Denzel Washington
Annette Bening
Bruce Willis

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A series of terrorist attacks are planned throughout NYC, pushing an FBI agent (Washington) and an Army General (Willis) to find out the identities of the terrorists.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The Siege begins with an intriguing What if? concept that turns into an apocalyptic, propagandized cautionary tale for the pessimist in all of us.

Edward Zwicks film starts off on a noble road, focusing more on the events that will drive The Siege, but then takes a more familiar route for action movies by pitting one man (Washington) against all odds: both a steady stream of terrorist attacks and Bruce Willis! For the fellas, there are plenty of standoffs, gunplay, and good guy/bad guy runaround; for the ladies, many Denzel scenes are complete with slow-motion running.

So here it is, what the back of the DVD case makes such a big deal of: the similarities between the film and the September 11th attacks and how that event turned the United States into a paranoiac eyes-in-the-back-of-their head bunch. That may be unavoidable, particularly with the occasional eerie shots of the World Trade Center looming throughout. In retrospect, some are describing The Siege as prophetic, with the director of Legends of the Fall playing the role of Nostradamus here. The film lacks the divinity for this claim, and is more of an action film with laced coincidence.

Most of the performances are stodgy and quite a letdown from talents like Washington, Willis, and Annette Bening. The real talent here is Tony Shaloub, who is remarkable as Washingtons partner and translator, an Arab-American whose son faces great mistreatment after all hell breaks loose in the Big Apple after Bruce Willis declaration for martial law on the city. There is a shocking moment when the camera follows Denzels character into a football stadium that has been converted into an internment camp for Arab-Americans. Its at this point that Zwick will either really lose us or really win us over with his agenda. But here is why it loses us: weve given the film an inch, but it takes a yard. As the film progresses, each idea is more far-fetched than the last.

The Siege has an agenda, but is able to conceal that until the final act that may make you want to toss the disc in frustration. But dont let this deter you too much, because luckily for us, Zwicks agenda doesnt shroud the intensity of his film. Hey, at least we arent bombarded with Homeland Security color chart mumbo-jumbo.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Producer/Director Edward Zwick and Executive Producer Peter Schindler: The guys are proud and speak passionately (yet dully) about their work, providing solid insight here and there along with parallels to the world we live in now. There are a few spots of silence and some comments that are goofy, like the focus on Benings boldness to mess up her hair when removing a sweater. Mmhmm.

The Siege: Taking New York (14:07): Producer Lynda Obst, director Zwick, and others discuss the development of the film in this generic piece. It also serves as the perfect featurette for ass-kissing.

The Siege: Freedom is History (13:16): This is the piece that this disc needed. It focuses on the parallels between the film and the events of 9/11 and other related events.

The Making of The Siege (13:51): The cast/crew talk about, well, the making of The Siege! This is another typical featurette that goes into closing down Times Square, the design of bombed-out buildings, stunts, etc.

And Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The Siege could have been much better if it hadn't been directed by such an agenda-driven filmmaker. But still, some of the ideas will perk our interest and make us think, "What if?" The Siege may be worth a rental for the action fan in you, but I wouldn't go for much more.
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