Thirteen Days (2000)

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Thirteen Days: Directed by Roger Donaldson. With Shawn Driscoll, Kevin Costner, Drake Cook, Lucinda Jenney. In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“In 1962, the world stood on the brink of World War III for u0026quot;Thirteen Days,u0026quot; a 2000 film starring Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp and Dylan Baker, with direction by Roger Donaldson. The story concerns the u0026quot;Cuban Missile Crisis,u0026quot; when the U.S. discovered that the Soviets had placed missiles aimed at the U.S. in Cuba.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs someone who remembers the situation well, watching this was a profound experience in more ways than one. A good deal of dialogue was taken from actual Presidential transcripts, which made watching it even more impressive. Looking at it from todayu0026#39;s eyes, u0026quot;Thirteen Daysu0026quot; is a knockout.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eDonaldson focuses the film right where it should be – in the White House and in conference rooms, giving us only the subplot of Kenny Ou0026#39;Donnellu0026#39;s family life. For those posters who commented that Ou0026#39;Donnell was perhaps not a real person, yes, he was. Itu0026#39;s impossible for me to believe that with a film that goes into so much detail and strove to be so factual, someone thought there was a made-up character. Try Google next time. Ken Ou0026#39;Donnell headed up Kennedyu0026#39;s presidential campaign and was appointed his Special Assistant when Kennedy won the White House. He was the most powerful of the Presidentu0026#39;s advisers.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSeveral things become clear about the goings-on at the White House in 1962: None of the military leaders thought the Kennedy administration belonged in the White House; if it had been up to the military leaders, the situation would have caused World War III; JFK turned himself into a pretzel in order to pursue a diplomatic solution to the potential conflict. Though discouraged almost at every turn, JFK still would not allow the shooting to begin, pushing instead for an embargo against Cuba.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThere is plenty of tension and excitement in this film. One of the best scenes is Commander Eckerd (Christopher Lawford) and his team low-flying over Cuba taking photos, and a U-2 pilot trying to avoid missiles chasing him. But most of the tension and excitement takes place in the meetings as the President and RFK struggle for answers and play for time. The mix is therefore ideal: drama, some aerial excitement, and a little humor as Adlai Stevenson gets the better of the Russians in an OAS meeting.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThereu0026#39;s also a look at the reaction of the country – also very accurate. Yes, people piled into church, cleared the grocery shelves of everything, and stocked fallout shelters. We all watched the President on television. In fact, as he talked, my mother thought he was about to declare war. It was a terrifying time.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eKenny Ou0026#39;Donnellu0026#39;s role in all of this may have been somewhat exaggerated to make it a palatable role for Kevin Costner. Costner does okay in the part. Boston accents are very difficult to do without them sounding put on. Itu0026#39;s very difficult to do accents in general and make them organic to the character. A few have succeeded: Anne Bancroft in u0026quot;The Miracle Worker,u0026quot; Paul Newman in u0026quot;Somebody Up There Likes Me,u0026quot; little Natalie Wood in u0026quot;Tomorrow is Forever,u0026quot; Travolta in u0026quot;Saturday Night Fever,u0026quot; and of course there are others. Jane Seymour and Joan Collins can easily pull off being Americans. All British actors can do a southern accent, since the southern accent started off as a British accent. Costner lays it on too thick and itu0026#39;s a distraction. But he certainly isnu0026#39;t bad in the role.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe casting people merely wanted to suggest JFK and RFK. In Steven Culp, they found a young actor with similar features to RFK. He does an effective job, given that itu0026#39;s tough going to portray such a famous person. The most successful in the film is Bruce Greenwood as JFK, who tries to keep the accent from overpowering the dialogue. In the Presidentu0026#39;s television speech, Iu0026#39;m sure he imitated JFKu0026#39;s every single inflection and pause, and itu0026#39;s perfect. His JFK is a listener, very dependent on his brotheru0026#39;s advice, and one who takes the burdens of the country on his shoulders like a cross. One of the posters here mentioned something to the effect that u0026quot;we are led to believe that JFK leaned heavily on his advisorsu0026quot; as if this is a negative. Of course he did. Of course any President does or should. The final decisions belonged to him, and he had to be sure of all of the ramifications. Only an idiot doesnu0026#39;t hear every single opinion of value before he decides to launch World War III.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe camaraderie between RFK, JFK, and Ou0026#39;Donnell is as unmistakable as their arguments and frustrations.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThirteen months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK would be dead and Ou0026#39;Donnell would be riding behind him in the Secret Service Car. After a particularly tough meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ou0026#39;Donnell insists that JFK sit for a minute, and JFK finally does. Worn out and not sleeping well, he laments about being President. u0026quot;I just thought there would be more good days.u0026quot; In the end, we – and he – would have settled for just MORE days.”


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