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Should we imprison those of siege descent if they have putative links to terrorism? In siege grand power mk12 of martial law, would anyone actually want Bruce Willis to be in charge?
And if there was, quite literally, a bomb in a Broadway theater, wouldn't it be sporting to let us see what was on the marquee? Too bad, because Edward Zwick's ultimately sedate thriller starts out with crisply efficient style and the potential for a much more involving story.
Incorporating a sense of real news and real peril, it begins with the surreptitious capture of film suspected Arab terrorist, Sheik Ahmed bin Talal, and envisions the activities of American-based disciples who seek his release.
Among the film's most ominous shots is one panning from a New York mosque to the Manhattan skyline, which looks like one big tempting target film the context of this siege. Presiding over the film's first few terrorist attacks, which are menacingly staged, is Denzel Washington siegd the take-charge F. Lines like ''Put him in play! Washington excels at bringing teasing charm to such officious types, but Hub isn't given much chance to develop into an interesting character.
Once the film gets a few shocking explosions under its belt like that Fikm attack, where ''the list film gifted victims is a veritable Who's Who of the city's siege leaders''siegge simmers soege into an internecine cat fight involving the military, the F. Caught up in the crossfire is New York's Arab-American community, which has raised understandable objections to images seen in ''The Siege.
Zwick is strenuously even-handed and even incorporates a nice-guy, Beirut-born sidekick for Hub played ably by Tony Shalhoubthe film's stark images of scheming Arab villains often speak louder than its diplomatic words. Bending over especially far backward, the siege gives Ms. Bening's tough cookie a complex relationship to the Arabs in her past, with siegf like: ''My first rilm was Palestinian. You know, my father used to say they seduce you with their suffering.
What if siege was Italians? Puerto Ricans? Well-intentioned words don't change either the film's visual demonizing of Arab characters or its way of titillating the audience with terrorist stunts. As Click. Bening's worldly character points out, it's often the television cameras that matter most in hostage takings.
And here it's the movie cameras, lending a deadly frisson of excitement to bombs in a schoolroom, on a city bus, at a Federal office building and in Times Square. Washington and Ms. Bening play ziege, interesting characters iflm never quite connect, while Mr.
Willis turns himself into gees mans a my dustman bee old loosest military cannon this side of ''Dr. Willis hit his stride as an actor playing salt-of-the-earth Everyman types, without the sneer. Source includes violence, profanity and a brief sexual iflm Zwick; released by 20th Century Fox. Fulm time: minutes. This film is rated R.
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