New York City is hit by terrorists. At first its harmless. They blow up some paint on a bus. But then it turns deadly. From blowing up another bus, to blowing up a theater, to killing 600 people in a bombing reminisent of Oklahoma City. The President feels he has no choice but to declare martial law in New York, and put the city under siege. Arab-Americans are taken from their homes and thrown into camps to sort out the good from the bad. It makes you think, what do you do when your neighbors are threating to destroy life as we know it? Are you willing to forget our Constitution, the one document that makes this country what it is, to get rid of those who might harm you? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself. What would you do?
Denzel Washington plays Anthony "Hub" Hubbard, the head of a terrorism task force for the FBI. After he successfully finds the people who blew up the bus, he, and the rest of New York think everything is ok. But he's wrong. Terrorism doesn't follow a set plan. You get some, but you don't get the others. Just 9 hours after killing the bus bombers, another group blows up a theater. Then another group takes children in school hostage. And yet another blows up One Federal Plaza. Throughout it all, Hub always sticks to his belief that we live under a Constitution and that we should do things only allowable under the law.
Hub, along with his partner Frank Haddad (Tony Shalhoub) want to figure things out their way, without any military involvement. They are joined by Elise Kraft (Annette Bening) who I still can't figure out, who is CIA. She has some strange connection to the terrorists, or people who know the terrorists, or something of that nature. Her name changes half way through the movie, and her motives are never fully explained. Bruce Willis is General William Devereaux, a man who doesn't want to take over New York City, but when he's called on to do so, he takes matters into his own hand.
Denzel Washington gives another powerful performance in The Siege. He has an incredible screen presence where he just takes control of every scene he's in. Whether he's yelling orders or negotiating with hostages, he can control a scene like no one else. Tony Shalhoub (better known from his days on Wings) does a wonderful performace as an Arab-American FBI agent caught between two worlds. While no one can condone terrorism, when his own son is taken to an internment camp, he has to decide whether to stay with his people, or help take then down. I don't really like Annette Bening, and her character in the movie didn't make much sense. I never got a real feel for what she was supposed to be doing. Bruce Willis's character started off thoughtful and ended up a monster. I'm not a military man, so I don't know how they act, but I thought he did a good job portraying what it might be like if the Army was forced to come into a major U.S. city and police it.
Overall, I thought the movie was well paced and thought provoking. The part I didn't like that sort of took away from the film was the entire story line with Annette Bening. Even after it was explained somewhat near the end, I still thought they spent too much time with her, and didn't let the audience understand what she was doing until it was too late. Still, The Siege turned out to be a pretty good movie.