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. Written by
Karen Eiler <email@example.com>
Annette Bening said that an early draft of the script concerned her because she felt there was material in it that would be offensive to Jewish Americans. She was not specific about what this meant, and in the end the movie had no controversial scenes involving Jews at all (one of the top FBI agents is Jewish and dies with hundreds of his colleagues in a terrorist bombing, and some of the information about the terrorists comes from Israeli intelligence). See more »
In one scene before the bus explodes, Hub and Frank are driving in a car and Elise / Sharon is sitting on the rear seat. During the shots in which she is shown, you can clearly see through the rear window that the following cars are changing between shots. See more »
Watching the 1998 THE SIEGE in 2007 and then rolling through all the reviews of this film from the time of release to the present is a lesson in the power of the cinema. The obvious initial response was less about the film as a film than about the manner in which the FBI, CIA, Military, Terrorists, and public responded to the unimaginable: shouts of protests about 'glorification of occult terrorists', the Hollywood idea of the impossible happening, and the criticism of the fine cast of actors who steeped into roles 'beyond swallowing' are all here in these reviews.
Now, six years after 9/11 reviewers are taking a different view, though most still find the film pompous and obnoxious. Offensive versus defensive. And after viewing the movie as a movie it is gratifying to know that people feel strongly and are vocal about the depiction of the 'war against terrorism' we continue to lose. Movies that make people think and talk are valuable, and in that light the film is more successful than initially considered.
Yes, there are gaping holes in the script and the plot and the concept, but as a little thriller it maintains our attention throughout and offers some fine moments from actors such as Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Tony Shalhoub, Bruce Willis, Sami Bouajila, Ahmed Ben Larby, Aasif Mandvi among others. And then there are the panoramas of New York City under siege with the Twin Towers standing mightily in the cityscape... It begs the question: if scriptwriter Lawrence Wright and director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, Courage Under Fire, Glory, Leaving Normal, Legends of the Fall, etc) were thinking along these lines and finding flaws in our intelligence forces, why weren't the leaders in Washington, DC in tune with 'absurd possibilities'? It makes one think - and that is the best thing about this film. Grady Harp
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