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The siege

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

An enemy they can't see. A nation under siege. A crisis they can't control.

When a crowded city bus blows up in Brooklyn and a campaign of terror begins to make its bloody mark on the streets of New York, it's up to FBI Special Agent Anthony Hub Hubbard (Denzel Washington) and USA Army General William Devereaux (Bruce Willis) to find out who's responsible... and put an end to the destruction. Together, they face explosive danger at every turn when they team up to wage an all-out war against a ruthless band of terrorists.

Also starring Annette Bening and Tony Shalhoub. Directed by Edward Zwick.

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Terror on the big screen.

The siege is about terrorism and freedom: the terror of Arab violence and the freedom of American citizens. Neither of them comes off particularly well (that is to say, the concepts don't come off particularly well; the filmic execution is pretty good).

But the best part of this film is the violence. Explosions, shootings, incarcerations, torture, hostage taking, destruction of innocence... yeehar! There's also lots of great spy stuff and lots of that inter-departmental rivalry (how many secret security agencies are there in the USA, anyway?)

Denzel is Denzel and Bruce is Bruce, which means that Denzel does a good special agent and Bruce is out of his league. His character is a political General with a nasty twist, and that's too many dimensions for Bruce. Hold gun, aim gun, shoot gun. When he tries to do anything more complex, it just don't work. This is the first time I remember seeing Annette and she does ok as a dirty, damaged CIA agent. While sex has always been used as a tool (no pun intended) it's interesting to see it on the big screen. I wonder how much gaffer tape was used to tastefully - if hilariously - relocate Sami Bouajila's genitalia (he plays dubious Arab Samir Nazdhe).

The politics of freedom in the USA are debated more significantly than is to be expected from an action thriller, but The siege demonstrates very well the thinness of humanity's civilised veneer. This film is easy to watch and easy to forget, which is a good thing because you can watch it again in six months.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Making of footage
  • Trailer
  • Subtitles

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence, medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

111 minutes (1:51 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD rental: 23 August 2000
DVD retail: 5 June 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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