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As featured on Eric Ward's URLwire
  Movie Review                    
Thirteen Days   (3-1/2 of 4)
By Doug Crooks, Independent Movie Critic

Starring: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Henry Stozier, Dylan Baker, and Charles Esten.

Directed by Roger Donaldson.
Written by Ernest R. May and Philip D. Zelikow.
Running time: 135 minutes (2 hours, 15 min.)
Rated: PG-13 (for brief strong language).
Official Website: Thirteen-Days.com

I'll give a slight warning that I rarely like Kevin Costner as an actor. While some of his movies are well made and entertaining, he rarely acts with more emotion than a dried up wooden board. A little harsh, I know, but true none the less. Regardless, this is Costner's best work in years. He stars as Kenny O'Donnel, Special Advisor to President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood). While we all know the results of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, this film does a brilliant job at bringing the tension to the fore-front. We can feel Kennedy's stress as he tries to decide what to do; he is being pushed by the Pentagon to bomb the Russians and invade Cuba, but he knows that it ". . . just wouldn't be right" for the US to sneak attack the Russians and evoke World War III. You can also feel the tension of Bobby Kennedy (Steven Culp), as he takes charge of the situation, at his brother's order, and has to do the 'dirty task' of getting everybody to at least agree on a decision.

This film takes us from the back offices of the White Office to private meetings with the Kennedy Brothers and O'Donnel, to the decks of US Navy ships blockading Russian cargo rigs supplying arms to Cuba. 'Thirteen Days' takes us through a journey that could have spelled disaster for both the US and Russia, and it keeps building the tension through the last minutes of the film.

What I really enjoyed about the movie is that fact that I was on on the edge of my seat for almost the entire two and a half hours. When the Russians weren't backing down, and the US didn't know who was truly in charge of Russia ('hard line' military officials not wanting to back down from war), I was wondering 'what would happen next?' Watching all of the stings being pulled by the generals and admirals against the president's wishes really made me wonder what goes on now-a-days, and makes you wonder what happens that the public doesn't know about. "Thirteen Days" paints a picture that World War III was literally hours away from happening, and paints the Pentagon generals as being blood-thirsty war lords, ready to "Kill the Red Dogs sniffing in our back yard."

Bruce Greenwood as the President Kennedy, reminded me a lot of Anthony Hopkins as Nixon. He doesn't exactly resemble the president, but acts so strongly that you believe he is JFK. This movie also reminds me of the Oliver Stone film 'JFK' in the fact that we don't know how much of this movie was reality. BUT, it's entertaining enough for me not to care too much. For example, the movie paints Kenny O'Donnel as a hero, while Kennedy scholars will contend that you rarely hear his voice on the Kennedy tapes that this movie is based on. The movie is very entertaining and suspenseful, and the acting is superb. I'm sure that anyone that lived through the experience will probably feel the tension slightly more than I, but those younger will still enjoy the edge of your seat tension.

So, if you laughed hard at such 'classics' as Waterworld, The Postman, and Message in a Bottle, revel in this one, Costner fans! Also as a point of interest, his accent isn't as horrible as Robin Hood!

- Doug Crooks, Movie Critic

Just so you know how I rate my movies:

Rush out and see this movie immediately
See this movie soon, but on your own time
See this movie at a matinee or with a free pass, save a couple of bucks
Video store or cable TV special

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