Sunday, 30 January 2011

Those goddamn Kennedys are gonna destroy this country

Thirteen Days (2000)
Chosen by James Bloodworth who had this to say about it: 'The majority of us probably remember the cold war stand off of the 1980's, the thought that the Russians would destroy us in a nuclear war with the machines rising through the ashes, sorry, wrong film. The Cuban Missile Crisis was arguably the closest the superpowers came to war, starting with a chance observation of what look like ICBM's being installed on the island of Cuba, this rapidly escalates with the US NAVY blockading the island. The story is told through the experiances of Kevin Costner's Kenny O'Donnell (special assistant to the president who in reality would not have done what is shown). Based on several books it is mean't to be quite accurate but Robert McNamara (who was Secretary of Defence at the time) plays down the role that O'Donnell played. For my money I think this is a very underrated film, Costner is workmanlike but I think Bruce Greenwood gives a great performance as Kennedy. The pacing is good and there is a tension throughout the film, like Apollo 13, you know how it's going to end but there's still a chance it could go wrong.'

Once again James offers up probably a few more words on the film than I will. But I have to do this every day dammit.
Thirteen Days is one of those reasonably exciting films that despite being based on well known real events manages to elicit some tension through good performances and solid, if unremarkable direction (beyond the annoying decision to put bits of it in black and white and repeated shots of nuclear explosions).
Bruce Greenwood and Dylan Baker are terrific and Costner's performance is mostly led by his accent but holds together well.
Firefly fans the splendid Michael Fairman plays another Adlai (different spelling granted) here to less sinister but pleasing effect.

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