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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Effective movie on a relevant topic with an ending that contradicts its message
Released in 1998, "The Siege" chronicles events as New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks after the abduction of an Islamic leader by the US military. The head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force (Denzel Washington) teams up with a CIA operative (Annette Benning) to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. Ultimately, the US government declares martial law and sends in the troops, led by General Devereaux (Bruce Willis). Tony Shalhoub plays the FBI agent's Arab-American partner while Sami Bouajila plays a seemingly suspicious Arab-American.
While clueless PC morons have criticized this movie as "racist propaganda" it dared to show the awful truth in the late 90s and was nigh prophetic in light of 9/11 occurring less than three years later. There are numerous noble Arab-Americans, and the movie emphasizes this, but – let's be honest – there are also Islamic whack-jobs in our midst who enjoy blowing themselves up with as many innocents as possible so they can go home to Allah and 72 virgins (or whatever).
I like the fact that General Devereaux (Willis) isn't a black or white character and viewers can have completely different views about whether or not he's actually a villain. The movie shows that he's a professional soldier who warns the governmental leaders exactly what would happen under martial Law, a suspension of all civilian rights guaranteed under the constitution, clearly cautioning them that they might not like the form of medicine martial law dishes out. But it's a desperate situation and they give him the go-ahead, so he offers up exactly what he said he would give. He has his methods to protect his country and performs them with conviction. The terrorists were killing masses of innocents and he's commissioned to stop it, which is what he does, PC or not. Does this make him evil? These are questions the movie provokes and you'll have to answer them for yourself.
This is a quality movie that frankly addresses relevant topics and tries to be fair and balanced, but it sorta shoots itself in the foot at the end. Read the spoiler commentary below for details.
The film runs 116 minutes and was shot in New York City with a couple scenes in California.
***SPOILER ALERT*** DON'T READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM
One of the main points of the movie is that it's wrong to mistreat Muslim-Americans by profiling them, rounding them up and subjecting them to investigation outside normal procedures because it's equivalent to the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2. There are two problems with this: (1.) It isn't the same issue. Interning the Japanese was wrong because the government was rounding them up based on their ETHNIC HERITAGE. The Feds would've interned German-Americans if they used the same logic. The issue with Muslim terrorism isn't ethnicity, but rather religion. Statistically, most terrorists against the US are Muslims of Middle Eastern descent. Therefore "profiling" them is simply acting in accord with statistics. That's just cold hard logic, not racism. By contrast, interning Japanese-Americans during WW2 wasn't logical.
(2.) More importantly, the movie undermines itself by having Samir turn out to be a radical suicide bomber. This revelation demonstrates that peaceful Muslims can't be trusted, just as the Army and their supporters believed (in the movie). There's no reason to assume that any of the rank-and-file Muslims depicted couldn't have turned out to be terrorists just like Samir. This being the case, the army was right to intern and interrogate them. As you can see, the movie takes a noble position and then inexplicably contradicts it.
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