Whoo...long day at the office. Jeanne is under the weather, so we'll have to check out The Kingdom down the road. Early critical praise for the film is all over the place (our local critic, the perceptive Matt Soergel, called the conclusion "silly" and I hate a lackluster third act).
We just watched The Siege, a film about radical Islam and terrorism on American soil. I think the film is decent (next week I'll define my parameters for looking at a movie) and is propped up by a very good performance by Denzel Washington. Denzel acted circles around my man Bruce Willis (part of the holy triumvirate with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe), but his role called for so much more than Bruce's. That said, Bruce's monologue about the role of the military in times of strife is amazing (and chilling).
This film communicates all that is good about our country. It also illustrates the paradox that exists between having a free and open democracy (protests, a critical press, direct action) and the necessary hand of the government in keeping the peace.
I write this as Myanmar's government has declared a curfew on its people. Its military has opened up live rounds against the protesters. And it has pulled the plug on internet access inside of the country.
So we see a fictionalized version of this in The Siege, but it's not far removed from a reality playing out on the other side of the world. My heart-felt karmic thoughts go out to those in that country that would like a voice and a chance to direct their own political path.
The Siege has its flaws. Annette Bening's character actually says "I'm so cold," as she passes on in one of the final scenes. Director Edward Zwick relies too heavily on the score in this film to impact our emotions, and a lot of the dialogue is canned. That said, it's better than Jarhead and really stands as a thought-provoking film.
Denzel more than holds up his end of the bargain (though his dubious gaze as he learns of a colleague's son being held in detention is laughable).
Bruce does a fine job with the little bit of time he's given. Seeing him here makes you want to queue up The Sixth Sense again though, just to get a taste of his real talent.
I'm posting late. I had planned to discuss The Road in this spot. And tomorrow I'll blog a bit on the best books I've read in '07.
But you could do a lot worse than watching The Siege and maybe thinking a bit about the state of the international community at this point in time.