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COUVRE FEU - DVD 
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A high-profile action/exploitation thriller set in the late 20th century, The Siege is really a fantasy that extrapolates from major terrorist bombings, such as the one at the World Trade Centre. Denzel Washington is FBI special agent Hubbard, "Hub" to his friends, whose anti-terrorist task force must track down the terrorist cells responsible for a spate of bombings in New York. His partner is an FBI agent of Arabian extraction (played convincingly by Tony Shalhoub), proving not all Arabs are bad guys--a point the film should be lauded for making again and again. Thrown into the mix is a CIA spy (played almost kittenish at times by Annette Bening), whose ties to the terrorists appear to be at the centre of the conflicts. When the bombings escalate out of control, the President institutes martial law, sending in General Devereaux (played with impenetrable countenance by Bruce Willis) with tanks and troops to ferret out the terrorists. Echoes of Japanese-Americans in internment camps ring out as Arabs, including the son of the Arab-American FBI agent, are herded into a stadium. Periodic audio-montages of "man in the street" sentiments anchor the material in the present and show how serious and relevant the material is. But finally what we have is a taut and entertaining popcorn movie, giving itself the humanistic nod when it can. --Jim Gay, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It is exciting, thought provoking and very well made and Denzel Washington as an FBI agent, Annette Benning as a CIA agent and Bruce Willis as an army commander turn in great performances to make the film a memorable experience. Given how frightened and angry people felt after 9/11 it is not difficult to believe that something of this kind could easily happen if a series of bombings took place, it was difficult to find the bombers and the public clamour for something drastic to be done. The atmosphere of fear engendered by the continual bombings, the frustration of the law enforcement authorities as they try to apprehend the bombers is well conveyed in "The siege" and it can only be hoped that something of the kind does not happen in the US or here.
US Army General William Devereaux (Bruce Willis) is involved in the abduction of a Sheikh, an Islamic religious leader. As a result, New York City becomes a terrorist target starting with the blowing up of a bus in busy Brooklyn. FBI Special Agent Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington) and his Arab fellow-agent Frank Haddad (Tony Shalhoub) try to locate and stop the terrorist cells while violence, bombings and mayhem are escalating. CIA agent Elise Kraft (Annette Bening) seems to have a lot of helpful information, but what is her agenda?
USA focused disaster movies are not usually my cup of tea and I watched this movie after my partner chose it. I must admit though that it is a fast paced adventure with an intriguing story line. The cinematography is fresh and remains up to it almost 12 years down the line, although the effects and action scenes are pretty typical US style, i.e. with lots of explosions, but in this particular film, bomb explosions are a main plot theme, so they don't seem out of place or too exaggerated.
While I was watching the movie I had to check what year it was made, because I couldn't believe the fact that it actually predicts the attack of Muslim extremists on US soil and New York in particular. In addition, the reaction of General Devereaux foretells the events at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. This played a significant role for me, because if the movie were made after 9/11 I would probably see it as an attempt to exploit the popular fear, but being made before those events make it worth watching and realising how many key aspects of the 'war on terror' the director and script writer have managed to capture in a true prophetic way, when most of the world did not see it coming.
The selection of the cast is excellent, with Washington, Willis and Shalhoub being very comfortable and believable in their roles. Annette Bening's presence is a bit odd, but so is her character in the movie, so it keeps the viewer guessing on who she really is and what she knows. This question keeps things much more interesting and adds a mystery layer - albeit thin - to the plot, with some twists and turns.
Something I really enjoyed in this film is that it does not have any predictable and unnecessary romance and sex scenes; it does contain some nudity, but it feels very natural for the role and the given scene.
The main disadvantage is that knowing how things have evolved in real life, I found that the movie sometimes gets a lecturing and melodramatic tone.
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