The Siege (BLU-RAY)

The Siege

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Running Time: 
116 minutes
Putting Knowledge to Good Use

Screenplay co-writer Lawrence Wright won a Pulitzer and the Anthony J. Lukas Book Prize for his 2006 book "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."

I hadn’t watched The Siege since before 9/11 (it was released in 1998), and my only memories of the film were that it had seemed insanely overdone and that Bruce Willis’s character was a complete ass.  Seeing it post-9/11, the film still seems over-the top and too slick for its own good, but the parallels to 9/11 and its aftermath with the raging debates over civil liberties and torture were jarring.  Denzel Washington’s character resonated much more for me this time around, as did Tony Shalhoub’s (excellent performances by both).  Annette Bening’s CIA agent bothered me because she is all over the map with her motivations and she is too unsympathetic a character to be so ambiguous.  Oh, and Major General Devereaux, played by Bruce Willis, is still a total ass, so much so that it weakens the film’s message, I think.  The Siege is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, with its boilerplate political thriller conventions, overly simplistic characterizations, and anticlimactic ending, but it does raise interesting and remarkably current topics and the first 30-45 minutes are genuinely tense.

Decent.  There is very little grain, and the shadowing is good.  The coloring seems off in some facial shots when there is too much pink or the features just seem washed out, but the explosions look amazing.  Sound is excellent, especially in action sequences.  It is loud, though, and at times the music drowns out dialogue.

What bonus features?  This disc only has an HD version of the film’s trailer and HD trailers for Broken Arrow, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Edge, and Flight of the Phoenix.  That’s just sad.

Review by Michelle St. James