Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Siege (1998)
An effective cautionary tale about the effects of repression
I must join many of this site's others writers who have noted this movie's eerie prescience; reviewers in 1998 had no way of appreciating the filmmakers' many uncanny predictions.
One element of the movie that stood out for me was the portrait of the American citizen, upstanding FBI agent, and decent man "Frank Haddad", played flawlessly by Tony Shalhoub. Through the actions of the government in consenting to martial law and the internment of American citizens and residents of Middle Eastern descent, Shalhoub's character was wrenched out of his life-long unquestioning American patriotism. With the prospect of his son's being tortured or even killed, he came to see that the concept of "justice for all" might be a very conditional and situational idea indeed.
Injustice happens everywhere on this planet, and this cannot justifiably serve as an excuse for committing violence. But at the same time, when injustice becomes the actual policy of a government, it is not surprising if the victims of the injustice fail to retain a complacent attitude of loyalty to said government. The movie makes the practical consequences of the philosophy "we will control 'them'" all too plain.
If a government asks its citizens to fight and sacrifice on the basis of its status as the embodiment of justice and the rule of law, then it must act according to those principles, or forfeit any claim to its citizen's hearts and minds. "The Siege" does a remarkably even-handed job of showing (among other things) the anguish of a man whose illusions (of having given his loyalty to a nation that deserves it) are shattered by a shift in the political winds.
Those winds can shift all too easily, and this movie reminds us of that danger.
A superb short retelling of the classic story
Dicken's story has been retold dozens (if not hundreds) of times, and it's always interesting to see what is emphasized and what is left out. This version is one of the shorter (and therefore more suitable for small children). But the bare bones of the story have been fleshed out by a score that is so memorable and moving that I'm amazed Broadway hasn't taken notice.
It's also a seminal version of the story--many current animators have referenced this production. And that's a tribute to the power it has over anyone who saw it in childhood.
An added treat is the gorgeous singing voice of Jack Cassidy (known to fans of "Columbo" as one of the two "three-time" villains, and to fans of "The Partridge Family" as the father of David), and the presence of famed Disney (and Boris Badenov!) voice-actor Paul Frees, who contributes the voices of several characters.