Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Annette Bening
Directed by Edward Zwick
Ed Zwick is taking flak from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for directing and co-writing a thriller about Arab terrorism in New York that the Council says is likely to increase hatred of Muslims. Denzel Washington as an FBI task-force head, Annette Bening as a CIA operative and Bruce Willis as an Army general each have an agenda in reacting to the bombing of a bus in Brooklyn and a dignitary-packed Broadway theater. Martial law is declared, and Arab-Americans are herded into detention camps just as Japanese-Americans were during World War II.
It's a provocative premise, and Zwick aims for fairness by casting Lebanese actor Tony Shalhoub as an Arab-American FBI agent whose family is victimized. And Zwick condemns the CIA for its blowbacks and the U.S. military for its torture tactics. Still, The Siege is not a documentary but a glossy Hollywood entertainment that is prey to all the exaggerations, simplifications and acting histrionics that come with the genre. It's difficult to sustain a responsible subtext when you're delivering the jolts required to keep butts in the seats.
star ratingCBS Films
star ratingRelativity Media
star ratingOpen Road Films
star ratingWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
star ratingThe Weinstein Company