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George At 

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Thirteen Days

For thirteen days in October of 1962, the world teetered closer to the edge of nuclear war than at anytime in history. Those days are created with class and suspense in THIRTEEN DAYS.

A dream cast of character actors play all the real life folks involved, with Bruce Greenwood leading the way as JFK. Greenwood doesn't do an impression of JFK, but he inhabits his look, mannerisms and charisma facing off against Soviet counterparts and his own Pentagon.

After discovering nuclear weapons capable of striking nearly everywhere in the USA (you seem to be the only safe city Seattle!) tensions escalate between the two military superpowers.

The film focuses on three people, JFK, attorney general Bobby Kennedy (a very good Steven Culp) and Special Assistant to the President Kenny O'Donnell (Kevin Costner).

Costner is actually the weak link in the film, sporting a ridiculous Boston accent that somehow manages to out-crap his legendarily disastrous "Robin Hood" accent. Costner rises above that handicap at moments, especially in the impactful scenes of stolen moments with his family during the crisis.

Historically accurate, fading in and out of black and white and using plenty of real Walter Cronkite clips of him reporting on the events as they happen, the film does a terrific job of immersing you into the fall of 1962.

Dylan Baker (Happiness) is great as Robert McNamara, Bill Smitrovich (24) is war-hawk General Taylor and Michael Fairman (Mulholland Drive) is a real standout as Adlai Stevenson.

Much of the dialogue is taken directly from tapes within the Oval Office that JFK recorded of key meetings. The dance between political positioning, strength and politics is fascinating to watch.

With an $80 million budget, this was a box office failure at the time of its release, but has grown in stature and appreciation since.

This was the first film that George and Laura Bush screened at the White House in Feb of 2001, with members of the Kennedy family in attendance.

It's been a favorite of mine since its release. Like "All The President's Men" or "The Post", its a historical film that moves like a thriller.

Seeing how close we came to nuclear war nearly 60 years ago, we're left wondering how the same situation would be handled today.

Scary thought.


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