Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I'm Watching: "The Siege" (1998)

What I'm Watching

The Siege
I hadn't seen this movie in a long time and when I saw it on a distant movie channel tonight, I thought I'd give it another shot. I don't think I've even seen the movie from start to finish. When I did originally watch it, it was on TV and I didn't quite understand the politics of it all. Now, being 27 years old and gone through some free thinking, this movie hit me in a brand new way. Its especially relevant today. Its weird re-watching this movie in 2016. Back in 1998, we had no idea that 9/11 was coming. Nor the huge slew of terrorist attacks that have occurred just this past year. There has lots that has been said how to handle refugees from the Middle East who try to enter this country, and whatever you think about that subject, you can't look at a film like "The Siege" and not be a little afraid of it.

We've got Denzel Washington playing FBI Agent Anthony Hubbard. We have Bruce Willis playing General Deveroux. We have Annette Benning CIA Agent Kraft. Hubbard is investigating a terrorist cell loose in New York City. This brings Hubbard into contact with Kraft who is using the Muslim population to find the terrorist cell. While the FBI are able to stop some of the upcoming attacks, they don't stop them all, which leads General Deveroux to come in with an Army and create Marshall Law in New York City by order of the President. Hubbard and Deveroux started out as allies, but now turn to foes as Deveroux bends his power in order to find the terrorist cells.

Sound familiar yet?

I don't like using this blog as a political soap-box, but watching this movie today was shocking in a lot of ways. I am not sure director Ed Zwick knew that this movie would be so relate-able so many years later. But this is something we can all relate to today and depending on who wins this years Presidential election, it could be even more relevant. "The Siege" begs us to fight the good fight, but is it enough? And when is it okay to take the white gloves off in freedom. Can we save the world by taking away the freedoms of others? These are all good questions, and "The Siege" doesn't really offer any easy answers, because there are no easy answers. All we can do is remain moral in the face of fear.

The movie itself is incredibly intense, and how the film slowly builds on its tension is pretty good for the 1990s. This decade had lots of really good tense drama, but this sticks out in way for me. Telling from the cast, the acting is really great. It ends in a typical 1990's stand-off, but everything leading up to that point is worth it. "The Siege" may not be talked about much these days, but it definitely should.

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