Infini Film, New Line Home Entertainment; Roger Donaldson, Director; Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1; 147 Minutes
There are two things that distinguish this film from other historical movies. The first is the remarkable performance of Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood as John F. Kennedy, and how much of a pain in the ass the mannered and historically inaccurate posturing of Kevin Costner as Ken O’Donnell becomes as the film proceeds. But the overall story is compelling, especially for those of us who lived through it; in my case, I was living away from home for the first time in university residence, and these events tended to add to the feeling of isolation and loneliness. There was a lot of anxiety among young people, since nobody knew how far Kruschev (the shoe banging Russian peasant) would push things.
Like Apollo 13, Thirteen Days maintains its suspense even though we know the outcome, largely because of Greenwood’s performance as JFK. The period recreation is also very realistic, from cars to clothes and other 60s things. This movie is called an “infinifilm”, which means it is interactive. Drop-down menus can be enabled to take you from the fictional to the historical events (these extras can also be viewed separately, as documentaries on Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis, several commentaries, a Historical Figures Commentary, and a Biographical Gallery. All this and more add up to a very educational DVD experience. If only we could keep Ken O’Donnell in his place!