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Movie Review

The Siege

R for violence, language and brief nudity

Reviewed by: David Rettig

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Crime Action Adventure
118 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Bruce Willis, Tony Shalhoub

Director: Edward Zwick

Terrorism strikes the heart of the Big Apple in “The Siege” as Muslim fanatics begin a reign of ruin that starts with the exploding of a full transit bus. A U.S. Army General (Bruce Willis), the head of the FBI/NYPD terrorism task force (Denzel Washington), and an underground CIA operative (Annette Bening) combine forces to answer the destruction that seem to come from everywhere without warning. Not afraid of death, the Arabic Muslims attacks strike at something far more precious: the freedom of Americans and the foundations of the republic.

“The Siege” begins slowly and does little to pick up the pace as it proceeds; however the exceptionally strong cast carries the film through the sometimes lackluster moments. There are lots of explosions and, if that is a measure of action films, this is a winner. However, the temp of the film is more reminiscent of a suspense drama but I suspect few people will be surprised by the “surprise ending.” “The Siege” is not a blockbuster, nor terribly original, but did demonstrate the ability for a strong cast to carry a film and to sell tickets.

“The Siege” is rated R for violence, language, and brief nudity. The language was typical for an R rated movie; as always, unnecessary but to attend an R rated movie and not expect language is naive. The brief nudity is male nudity and is momentary. The most disturbing part was the violence, which is extremely graphic! The results of terrorism are horrific and this film does a good job of presenting “shock value” gore that terrorism represents. One can only thank God that we live in a (relatively) safe country and pray that Americans will never suffer the ill effects of violent fanaticism.

All said, “The Siege” was a tad too slow for an action film, a tad too predictable for a suspense film, and a tad too graphic for Christian viewing. Let us pray that God will deliver the Middle East from the grip of terrorism and that the Muslim peoples will come to know salvation through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

** Editor’s Note: “The Siege” has been seen by some to be part of a growing list of films that portray Muslims as radicals. Though the film does make attempt at not portraying all Muslims as radicals, many of us can still be blamed of “guilt by association.” In fact, the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists or extremists and, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should educate ourselves on the truth.

Why should we pray and act for the suffering church? A message of Christian love from Brother Andrew of Open Doors.

Viewer Comments
The reviewer missed the point entirely. In this film, Muslims which had nothing to do with terroristic activities were rounded up and put in “camps.” Anyone who values religious freedom should admire the actions of the protagonists in decrying this treatment in a country where we have freedom of religion and respect for others' beliefs. That is a HUGE part of this film. I’m sorry you all seemed to miss that.
—Katie Westerberg, age 28
…I don’t believe the film led us to believe that ALL Muslims were radicals. There were times when it was made clear that not ALL Muslims were radicals and that most loved the United States and the freedom that it stands for. In this movie, the military were the radicals—power-hungry and controlling. I also thought the language, while vulgar, was mild compared to most “R” movies. The vulgar stuff is bad enough, but taking God’s name in vain makes me cringed, and I didn’t have to crinch a lot at this movie. And that over-used F-word was scarce. All-in-all, I found the movie enjoyable. Denzel Washington was a treat to watch, and I love Bruce Willis as a “bad guy.”
—Jo, age 30
I would have to agree with the editor that the American public is generally way too quick to pair the Middle East with terrorism. Having lived for the most part of my life in Oman (next to Saudi Arabia), I know this is definitely NOT the case, in fact, just the opposite is true of most Arabs. I feel it is irresponsible for the filmmakers to promote this idea, especially without making a clear statement that would educate the general public about Arabs. Would they be able to make a fantasy film like this about Jews? I think not. As an aside, I would wholeheartedly recommend you learn more about the Muslim people; so you can better educate others and share the Gospel with the rapidly growing number of Muslims in the world.
—Jason Murphy, age 19