The Siege (1998)

R   |    |  Action, Thriller


The Siege (1998) Poster

The secret U.S. abduction of a suspected terrorist leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York City, which leads to the declaration of martial-law.

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6.3/10
64,185

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  • Denzel Washington in The Siege (1998)
  • Bruce Willis in The Siege (1998)
  • Denzel Washington and Edward Zwick in The Siege (1998)
  • Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis in The Siege (1998)
  • Bruce Willis in The Siege (1998)
  • Denzel Washington in The Siege (1998)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


21 August 2004 | grendelkhan
Eerily prescient.
This film, made in 1998, is so close to the reality of Sept. 11, 2001 that it sends chills down your spine. Although events played out differently, so many elements in the film are near-mirror reflections of the reality. The attacks are carried out by Islamic extremists, whose core network were trained by the CIA, their attacks were dramatic and centered on New York City, there was little cooperation between, the FBI, CIA and military, and Arabs and Arab-Americans were rounded up in large numbers, or were subjected to harassment and violence. The images of bodies and debris are no less shocking than the sight of people jumping to their death from the World Trade Center. Torture was employed by US soldiers, in pursuit of terrorists. With all of that said, even had the attacks of Sept. 11th not occurred, this would still be a tremendous film.

Director Ed Zwick and actor Denzell Washington team up once again for a great one-two punch. Denzell brings great humanity to his role as an FBI agent, charged with counter-terrorism operations and investigations. He is aided by Tony Shalhoub, who delivers another great performance and some of the best lines. Annette Benning displays her talent as a CIA operative at the heart of the whole crisis. Roger Deacons adds his wonderful cinematography, and Bruce Willis turns in a fine performance as an over-zealous army general.

The film delivers a cautionary tale about extreme reactions to terror and the loss of freedoms that can result from acting in anger, rather than with reason and law. The rounding up of citizens, as depicted in the film, and the declarations of martial law, are not that far away from the provisions of the Patriot Act, which violates First Amendment rights, the right to privacy, and the right to due process. The film suggests that by giving up these rights, or stripping them away, we become the very thing that our enemies claim we are. It suggests that that may be the terrorists true aim.

This is not a crystal ball prediction of 9/11; but it is a fine thriller. The filmmakers did their homework and got quite a bit right. They also extrapolated things to an extreme, but not an implausible one. However, they delivered an excellent film, and one that should be seen and studied.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In several scenes, General William Devereaux is seen not wearing his U.S. Army uniform, instead he's seen wearing an ordinary suit. It is revealed that General Devereaux is actually holding a position in the President's cabinet while retaining his Army commission as a Major General, possibly National Security Advisor, or White House Chief of Staff. This resembled Alexander Haig, who was Richard Nixon's Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and later White House Chief of Staff, while retaining his General rank in the Army, or Colin Powell, who was Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, while also retaining his General rank in the Army, and later known as "political General".


Quotes

Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: All right, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to take your boy Samir downtown, I'm going to strap his ass to a polygraph machine and I'm going to ask him questions about you. Then I'm going to take those transcripts, I'm going to take ...
Sharon Bridger: ...


Goofs

When Hubbard gets a nose bleed while briefing the FBI agents his tie is long and hangs well below his belt. In the next shot it is shorter and shaped differently, and then back to being long in the following shot.


Alternate Versions

Some post-2001 versions have the World Trade Center digitally removed from the New York skyline.


Soundtracks

First You Cry
Written by Buddy Flett and David Egan
Performed by Little Buster And The Soul Brothers
Courtesy of Rounder Records
by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Thriller

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