: : : Thirteen Days

Story

When released in December 2000, Thirteen Days was pummeled for taking liberties with the facts of the Cuban missile crisis and smothering its compelling drama with phony Boston accents by its primary stars. More tolerant critics hailed it as one of the year's best films, and that's the opinion to believe for anyone who enjoys taut, intelligent political thrillers. For those too young to relate directly to the timeless urgency of the crisis that played out over 13 days in October 1962, Thirteen Days joins the classic TV treatment The Missiles of October (1973) as an intense and thought-provoking study of leadership under pressure.

The film (and costar-coproducer Kevin Costner) drew criticism for fictionally enhancing the White House role of presidential aide Kenneth O'Donnell, but while Costner's Boston accent may be grating, his fine performance as O'Donnell offers expert witness to the crisis, its nerve-wracking escalation, and the efforts of John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) and Robert F. Kennedy (Steven Culp) to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Russia. While Soviet missiles approach operational status in Cuba, director Roger Donaldson (who directed Costner in No Way Out) cuts to exciting U.S. Navy flights over the missile site, ramping up the tension that history itself provided. Donaldson's occasional use of black and white is self-consciously distracting, and he's further guilty of allowing a shrillness (along with repetitive, ominous shots of nuclear explosions) to invade the urgency of David Self's screenplay. Still, as Hollywood history lessons go, Thirteen Days is riveting stuff. You may find yourself wondering what might happen if reality presented a repeat scenario under less intelligent leadership. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

Kevin CostnerKenny O'Donnell
Lucinda JenneyHelen O'Donnell
Caitlin WachsKathy O'Donnell
Jon FosterKenny O'Donnell, Jr.
Stephanie RomanovJacqueline Kennedy
Bruce GreenwoodJohn F. Kennedy
Frank WoodMcGeorge Bundy
Steven CulpRobert F. Kennedy
Dylan BakerRobert McNamara
Bill SmitrovichGen. Maxwell Taylor
Ed LauterGen. Marshall Carter
Len CariouDean Acheson
Olek KrupaAndrei Gromyko
Elya BaskinAnotoly Dobrinyn
Michael GastonCaptain of USS Pierce
Tom EverettWalter Sheridan

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Roger Donaldson
  • Producer: New Line
  • Length: 145 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJan 12, 2001
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaFeb 3, 2004
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