The Siege Edward Zwick

The Siege Edward Zwick
"Imagine if there was an attack on New York City like 9/11,” actor Annette Bening says in one of this DVD’s extra features, "and then it didn’t stop.” Roughly, that’s the premise of Edward Zwick’s "eerily prescient” 1998 constitutional thriller: an escalating series of terrorist attacks leaves NYC caught between the conflicting operating interests of the FBI, the CIA and the American military. Well acted by its all-star cast (including Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis) and proficiently directed, The Siege was meaty entertainment even before history jumped in to grant it special status. So there’s really only one reason for a re-release and that is to re-examine the film through the proverbial post-9/11 lens. Luckily, The Siege is the rare cultural artefact that actually benefits from this exercise. Through the DVD’s four major extra features (three short documentaries and a director’s commentary), the filmmakers show how their film anticipates nearly all of the conditions that led to the real attacks on NYC: a systemic failure of communication between the CIA, FBI, NYPD and military; an infiltration of known Islamic extremists through the U.S. student visa program; and "blowback” from CIA-financed Mujahideen groups involved in the Afghan war against the Soviet invasion. It’s a concise and informative primer, and the filmmakers have a palpable interest in the topical nature of their subject matter Zwick went on to direct last year’s much heavier handed political thriller Blood Diamond. And with its full-scale pyrotechnic depictions of terrorist acts shot on-location in New York, The Siege also sits neatly on the cusp of a major transition in American filmmaking; it’s the beginning of the end for large-scale, on-location set pieces. With the subsequent emergence of high-quality digital effects and NYC’s paranoia, it’s unlikely a major studio is going to be staging grand depictions of terrorism and martial law there anytime soon. (Fox)