From Friday, May 14, 2008
Directed by Roger Donaldson, starring Bruce Greenwood, Kevin Costner, Steven Culp and Dylan Baker.
In 1962, the Soviet Union parked a load of nuclear missiles in Cuba that gave them first-strike capability against the U.S. Ol’ dogs of the military industrial complex, led by General Curtis LeMay, pressured President Kennedy (Greenwood) to invade Cuba. JFK’s “Irish Mafia” group of advisors, led by Bobby Kennedy (Culp) and Kenny O’Donnell (Costner), urged him to choose the path of diplomacy. The negotiations that followed could only have been engaged by Soviets and Americans who understand the rules of engagement in a war of words.
THIRTEEN DAYS was released in January 2001, disappearing amid the flood of hold-over 2000 Oscar contenders. That wasn’t all it had against it: Costner hadn’t been big in a while (and his Mayor Quimby-esque Boston accent is initially jarring, to say the least!) Everyone who didn’t sleep through high school knew how The Cuban Missile Crisis turned out. …And it’s mostly a movie about guys … talking. Somehow despite all that, they turned in an intense and enlightening political thriller that could make you choose your words more wisely the next time you are in a fight.
I’ll finish Wednesday,
AFTER THOUGHT from 1.29.10
Wow! Way to turn away the crowd, huh?! I’m not sure what my state of mind was when I so under-sold this movie! It is among the highlights of Costner’s career, as well as being an all around impeccably made film. There are those movies that, even if they are not your type of movie, you still have to acknowledge that they are as good as they could possibly be. Case in point: HOME ALONE and PROBLEM CHILD. Similar story, but one of them has been deservedly forgotten, while the other has become something of a holiday classic. I don’t think HOME ALONE is great art, but for the story they were telling, it could not have been much better than what they came up with.
A lot of people don’t like “talky” movies. A lot of people don’t like historical movies. A lot of people don’t care for Kevin Costner. I guess I was trying to say that this movie is all of those things, but for the story they were telling, you could not come up with a better film than THIRTEEN DAYS. I was so transported to JFK’s war room and engrossed by the growing dread of everyone in his cabinet that I lost track of the day-counter that would occasionally pop up in the corner. That is an amazing feat — to surprise the audience with the ending of a movie they already know the end to. I did not do a good job recommending THIRTEEN DAYS to my friends and coworkers. Here I want to recommend it without reservation to anyone of any age who enjoys movies that require and reward your attention.