On its theatrical release Thirteen Days
was pummelled by American critics for taking liberties with the facts of the Cuban missile crisis and smothering its compelling drama with phoney Boston accents by its primary stars. But anyone who enjoys taut, intelligent political thrillers will find little to complain about here. Co-star and co-producer Kevin Costner drew criticism for fictionally enhancing the White House role of presidential aide Kenneth O'Donnell, but while Costner's Boston accent may be grating, his fine performance as O'Donnell offers expert witness to the crisis, its nerve-wracking escalation and the efforts of John F Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) and Robert F Kennedy (Steven Culp) to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Russia. While Soviet missiles approach operational status in Cuba, director Roger Donaldson (who directed Costner in No Way Out
) cuts to exciting US Navy flights over the missile site, ramping up the tension that history itself provided. Donaldson's occasional use of black and white is self-consciously distracting, and he's further guilty of allowing a shrillness (along with repetitive, ominous shots of nuclear explosions) to invade the urgency of David Self's screenplay. Still, as Hollywood history lessons go, Thirteen Days
is riveting stuff. You may find yourself wondering what might happen if reality presented a repeat scenario under less intelligent leadership.--Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
DVD Special Features:
Audio Commentary - Historical
Deleted Scenes - Includes full commentary
Introduction to Visual Effects
Historical Documentary - "Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis"
Production Documentary - "Bringing History to the Screen"
Historical Information Track
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Languages: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English/ English for the hearing impaired
Widescreen Format 1.85:1