I have to say that, to me, there's an almost prophetic feel to this movie, looked at 20 years after it was made. The story is fairly simple. As it opens, the US military captures the leader of a terrorist group in the Middle East. In response, cells of the terrorist group begin a series of random attacks on New York City to try to win his release. We then follow the FBI, the CIA and the military (portrayed basically by Denzel Washington and Tony Shalhoub, Annette Bening and Bruce Willis respectively) as they try to identify the various cells and regain control of the situation. That's the story. It's straightforward in some ways (and, at times, I also found it a bit confusing.) The performances by those four were pretty good - although I thought Willis wasn't really given enough to do. As far as story goes, it's a decent movie, but no more than that. But after it ended and I thought about it, I started to make some connections with the world of today.
First, and important, is that this movie was made three years before the 911 attacks on the World Trade Centre. The movie seems to be based on the premise that it would take a series of terrorist attacks to throw New York City into chaos. As we now know, all it took was one (admittedly massive) attack on September 11, 2001. But, that aside, that's where I started to see this as almost prophetic.
Second, the movie portrays a complete lack of communication and a very competitive relationship between the various organs of the US government: the aforementioned FBI, CIA and military. They don't co-operate, and they often seem actually to be in a sort of competition with each other, keeping secrets from each other so that, often, the right hand didn't seem to know what the left hand was doing. Again, from 911, we know that this portrayal turned out not to be that far off the mark.
Third, in the movie the ultimate response of the US government is to declare martial law and to send troops on to the streets of New York City. The rights of citizens were ignored. People became suspects because of their race or religion. Hateful comments started to fill the airwaves. Well, in the aftermath of 911 it's true that no one declared martial law. However, the US government has certainly curtailed rights through what was innocuously named the "Patriot Act," police forces seemed to become more militarized, and hatred toward various identifiable groups (especially Muslims) has taken hold of a lot of people. So, again, the movie was a bit too extreme in its portrayal of martial law, but not really that far off the mark.
So, while I may not have thought that "The Siege" was any better than decent, I did find it something that caused me to do some reflection on the current state of the world. That raised it in my estimation. (8/10)
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City.
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May 14, 2014 at 09:24 PM