Reviewed by: Debbie James
|Featuring:||Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Dylan Baker, Tim Kelleher|
|Producer:||Armyan Bernstein, Kevin Costner, Kevin O’Donnell, Peter O Almond|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
During a routine photographic mission over Cuba, the U.S. discovered that the Soviet Union was assembling a strike force there of over forty nuclear missiles. What ensues is an enormous struggle regarding what to do about this discovery. All were agreed that these missiles could not remain there, but were divided down the middle over how to proceed. The old war dogs wanted to blast the missiles into oblivion before they were armed and ready, and the cooler heads wanted to achieve the removal without starting World War III.
“Thirteen Days” (how long the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, lasted) centers on how President John F. Kennedy resolved this tense situation. The movie’s tagline, “You’ll never believe how close we came,” hits the nail right on the head.
Long-time friend and presidential advisor, Kenny O’Donnell (Kevin Costner), and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Dylan Baker), aid President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (Steven Culp) in coming up with the best plan so that nuclear war is averted. They face intense opposition from The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, the top brass who felt that if we didn’t act immediately, most of the U.S. would certainly be annihilated by the Russians. As well as that opinion, these guys also feared that the Kennedys would ruin this country by their weakness, and didn’t belong in power. Keep in mind, this was the OTHER close election in our nation’s history, and tension abounded.
The main objectionable aspect of this movie was the language. Although it was spoken while under great duress, it still exists and some will find it bothersome. Present are: 1 “f” word, 31 misuses of “God,” “Jesus,” or “Christ,” and 39 other common swear words. Other material that might be offensive consists of: the obvious war theme (one person is killed, some shooting at aircraft or ships, and scenes of nuclear missiles and explosions); some smoking and/or drinking during the negotiation sessions; and lying (by both the Russians and U.S.)
This movie is highly recommended. It’s not merely entertaining, it’s informative. Granted there’s probably a fair dose of liberty taken in the film, but the event portrayed did happen, and for those of us too young to remember, it’s very intriguing. Even if you’re familiar with the events surrounding the crisis, you’re sure to relate to the agony these men faced as the situation unfolded.
I am glad that cooler heads prevailed and nuclear war was strategically averted. The old familiar adage, “Err on the side of caution,” is a good policy to go by.
* Side note: Kenny O’Donnell’s son Kevin, was one of the co-producers of this film.