Thirteen Days (2000)
Reviewed on 2010 March 12
Very tense movie, well-paced and well-acted, of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Kenny O’Donnell (Kevin Costner) is a close advisor to John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood), often having to leave his large family when he gets a call on the special red phone. The photographs of what appear to be medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba alarm the whole White House, and while the President is afraid of starting a third World War with the Soviets, his military advisers are also afraid of appearing weak. For the next two weeks, out of necessity pretty much everything else falls by the wayside as Kennedy’s staff all scrabble to keep us out of a war without making too many painful concessions.
Here’s another long movie — 145 minutes — that doesn’t feel long. Costner was good in JFK and he was good in this. The script, acting and music all come together to demonstrate what a game of thermonuclear chicken this whole thing could have been. In one quip exchanged between Kenny O’Donnell and Robert Kennedy, it also has as good an explanation as any as to what it is about the free world that, to quote O’Donnell, “pisses the rest of the world off.”
Three chocolate morsels and a scotch and soda.