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Customer Review

on 9 May 2010
The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 when the world came to the brink of nuclear war.

I don't pretend to be an expert on this but as far as I can see there are not too many arguments over the film's veracity, in which case I think we should all, in the words of the Pogues, `raise a glass to JFK`. These days, of course, due to his er peccadilloes (what a lovely word that is) he wouldn't get anywhere near the White House and, indeed, he almost didn't make it in 1960 - the closest Presidential election since 1916 apparently (and there are still doubts over the legitimacy of the result). It could have been Richard Nixon! Do you think he would have stood up to Generals Taylor and Lemay? Or Dean Acheson? I don't think so. But, together with his brother, JFK was determined to give peace every chance and not to be the man to take the decision to plunge the world back to the Stone Age lightly.

This, of course, is pretty scary stuff; what, in many ways, is even scarier is the fact that in those days there was no direct contact between the White House and the Kremlin, they had to rely on telexes which may or may not have been from Khrushchev and the word of men who may or may not have had the ear of Khrushchev. One benefit of this affair was the introduction of the `Hotline'. One is left with the conclusion that it was much more difficult to avoid a war than to start one.

It's a very good film; given it's subject, of course, it's basically a film about blokes sitting in rooms talking a lot. I personally think they should have left that way, racked up the claustrophobia, but the film does try to break out now and then, and none too successfully. The scenes in Cuba and O'Donnell's home life don't really add anything and act more as a distraction.

The other problem with the film is Costner - of course it's very doubtful whether the film would have been made without his participation, so for that we should be thankful, but once he's on board what do you do with him? He can't play one of the Kennedy's so he gets to play their `aide' (an amalgamation of more than one real-life person), and he gets his `scene' where he talks to the pilot who's going to fly over the missile sites in Cuba and try and get some decent pics - is this true? I don't know but it feels tacked on; and that accent! It could very well be accurate but it's distracting - would have been better to have let him talk in his natural voice I think.

But these are just quibbles - it's a fine film and, for the most part, very well acted. Bruce Greenwood and Robert Culp are outstanding as the Kennedy's - why they could almost be brothers!
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