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Deterrence (1999)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  10 March 2000 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,167 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 79 user | 29 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

The President of the United States must deal with an international military crisis while confined to a Colorado diner during a freak snowstorm

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Title: Deterrence (1999)

Deterrence (1999) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
President Walter Emerson
...
Marshall Thompson
...
Gayle Redford
...
Katie
Badja Djola ...
Harvey
...
Ralph
Mark Thompson ...
Gerald Irvin
...
Taylor Woods
...
Lizzie Woods
...
Agent Dexter
Joe McCrackin ...
Agent Williams
Scoot Powell ...
Noah
...
Captain Coddington
...
Admiral Miller (as James Curly)
Rigg Kennedy ...
Howard
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Storyline

After the death of the President, his successor is on the campaign trail to be re-elected. On a stop in Colorado, he is suddenly snowed in and he and his entourage are forced to take shelter in a small diner. Of course, the group completely take over from the diner's owner and his French-Canadian waitress. Also in the diner is a local redneck and a married couple. Suddenly, the movie moves into a suspense film as the President learns that Iraq has invaded Kuwait and slaughtered hundreds of American soldiers. Setting up temporary communications, the President announces that he will launch a nuclear attack on Iraq immediately if the country does not withdraw. Iraq reacts that they have 23 nuclear missiles trained on the US that they are ready to launch. Tensions mount with the involved civilians offering a different viewpoint to the President from the normal opinions of his advisers. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every President has a defining moment. Walter Emerson is about to have his.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

10 March 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Crise dos MĂ­sseis  »

Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,318 (USA) (10 March 2000)

Gross:

$144,583 (USA) (19 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(FotoKem)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally developed as a made-for-TV movie to air on Showtime. See more »

Goofs

There are ships visible at the base of the mushroom cloud that is supposed to be at Bahgdad. See more »

Quotes

President Walter Emerson: I didn't say anything about abort mission, I said hold position. Don't play your fucking game with me admiral!
See more »

Soundtracks

Ghosts
Written by Noah Stone
Performed by Noah Stone
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User Reviews

Should have been better than it was
28 February 2000 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Overall, the film is pretty good for a low budget FAIL SAFE set in a diner, though I have to admit that I'm glad I saw it on a screening video rather than on the big screen. It plays well, as a good made for cable movie, but not as a big screen feature. The entire film is set in one interior location with the only visual images of the outside world coming from television broadcasts that the characters watch in the diner. A film can be done well shot in one location, as Hitchcock proved, but writer/director Rod Lurie isn't quite up to the challenge and the film sometimes feels sluggish. The film opens with a montage of clips of speeches by former presidents, and one future fictitious one, decrying war, intercut with a view of Earth from space, as the opening credits come up. For some pretentious reason the first five minutes of the film, setting up the support characters in the diner, is shot in black and white and only switches to color with the entrance of the president (Pollak) and his entourage. The locals who inhabit this Diner are one-dimensional stereotypes. There is the weathered and wise old black cook, the ignorant racist trucker, and the dizzy French Canadian waitress. We only know that she's French Canadian because one of the patrons identifies her accent, though her accent shifts back and forth from Southern drawl to a Midwest (Fargo) accent. The film would have been a lot better had these characters been erased from the screenplay all together. Perhaps it had to be set in a diner because the budget couldn't cover a war room or White House set. The crisis story is believable and much of the dialogue between the president and his advisors is well written. Timothy Hutton, as the president's old friend and advisor, has a nice short monologue about the Los Alamos tests and the destruction of Baghdad that does more to evoke the scale of the situation than anything else in the film does. To be fair to the film, I watched it a twice before jotting this down. There was a twist at the end of the film that I thought was out of place the first time I saw it that made sense upon my second viewing. The president has an ace up his sleeve and I thought it was preposterous that he would hold back information from his staff just so the film could surprise the audience at the end. But on second viewing I saw where he advises his staff off screen away from the other characters. Stock footage is used often, and usually pretty well, during the news reports that come into the diner. Though sometimes they should have avoided using stock footage all together. (An F117 is not a B2 bomber and the detonation footage from the Bikini Atoll has been used a thousand times already and detracts from the emotional impact of the moment) It's a fairly clever script that would do well, minus some of the support characters, as a one-act play. It's definitely worth renting when it comes out on video. As for seeing it in the theaters…it's good to see studios like Paramount putting out small original films like this…but I wish it could have been done better for the big screen.


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