Thirteen Days (2002)

Directed by Roger Donaldson

This is a very good movie if you enjoy movies of this kind. For me, I’m not very enthusiastic about historical films such as this. I’m also suspicious of them because they usually come from a particular point of view that hopes to be taken as objective.

This is not to say there is anything false about Thirteen Days, or a particular viewpoint it is trying to promote.

It’s just that I am suspicious of them.

The movie tells the story of the October days of 1962 when the Soviets attempted to place missiles in Cuba, creating an international crisis.

The film is paced well, starting slowly and building as the crisis grows. The performances of Kevin Costner (as Ken O’Donnell, Special Assitant to the President), Bruce Greenwood (as President John F. Kennedy) and Steven Culp (as Robert Kennedy) are all excellent.

In communicating the nature of the crisis and the problems and issues surrounding it, the movie does a masterful job. But in the end, there is something missing from the movie. I think this may be due to the nature of this kind of movie. It locks the filmmakers into a historical facts from which it can’t deviate to any great extent (without undermining its credibility).

In this case, this seems to hamstring the movie from exploring the more personal aspects of the major characters.

It’s not so much that we’re not involved with the characters as it is we’re not involved enough. The film is almost exclusively focused on the events and the politics of the crisis, so we’re always kept a some emotional distance.

The film does succeed, however, in getting the nature of the crisis across. And with the DVDs special features, you get even deeper into the historical background.

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