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The Siege (1998)
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Review Date: November 11, 1998
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Lawrence Wright, Menno Meyjes, Edward Zwick
Producers: Lynda Obst and Edward Zwick
Actors:
Denzel Washington as Anthony Hubbard
Annette Bening as Elise Kraft/ Sharon Bridger
Bruce Willis as General William Devereaux
Plot:
Super-straight FBI agent Anthony Hubbard (Washington), works alongside his Lebanese-born partner, and CIA agent Kraft (Bening), to solve the maze of terrorist attacks plaguing the city of New York. When the terrorists commit acts beyond the scope of the FBI and the local New York City police department, the US Army is asked to intervene, led by able General Devereaux (Willis). The entire city is placed under martial law, and all Arab-American suspects are persecuted and grilled for information. The siege is set.
Critique:
Mediocre, preachy, self-righteous, thriller starring the great actor Denzel Washington, which manages to hit some high points, but delves into too many lulls and plot holes, along with a weak ending, to maintain my high interest throughout. This film was pretty interesting for the first half, but once the Army, and the wooden acting by Bruce Willis came into the picture, things just seemed to drag on without much real intensity. The final resolution with Willis also seemed quite anti-climactic and too politically correct for my taste.

This movie has apparently angered many Arab groups and after having seen the film, I guess I could see why that is. In my humble opinion, there have been too many terrorists represented as Arabs in movies, without enough reciprocracy for the rest of their cultural makeup (And that's about as political as you'll ever get to see JoBlo, so enjoy it while you can!) But I digress. On the other hand, this film does seem to want to portray the entire big picture, instead of this simple minority, and I guess that on that level, it does so intelligently and effectively. I never really did understand why and what the Annette Bening character did for a living (She seemed to be absolutely everywhere in this film, but without much clear explanation as to how she received clearance for anything), or why anyone, anywhere at anytime would trust her in this film (But somehow, they all do?!)

Add to that the fact that Bruce Willis seems to have forgotten his acting chops back in PULP FICTION (7/10) and NOBODY'S FOOL (8/10), and reverted back to his old style of impersonating a piece of mahogany lumber for this role (good choice, Bruce!). But when you really get down to it, Denzel Washington is the glue that holds this long-winded picture together. Year after year, this man continues to reassure us of his magnificent acting talent, and emotionally lure us into each and every one of the characters that he inhabits (Okay, so I'm not counting VIRTUOSITY!!). Otherwise, Annette was just annoying, while Shalhoub was passable in his see-through role as the token "nice-guy" Arab rep. Overall, the movie did pack some thrills, some action, some interest, little originality, little effect and little sweet movie aftertaste. I suggest you catch it on a cheapie night in the theatres, or more sensibly, wait for it on video and enjoy it during those long winter months.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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