8:00 PM, 11th April, 1999
At the start of The Siege, one of the US intelligence services abducts an Iraqi religious leader. In retaliation, Arab extremists start a campaign of terrorist bombings in New York City. FBI counter-terrorism agent Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington) must try to stop the bombings. But the attacks escalate, with a bus and then a theatre being bombed, followed by an attack on a federal building that is rife with references to the real-life bombing in Oklahoma City. The job of stopping the bombings is finally given to the US military - martial law is declared and the army moves in to occupy New York City.
This film felt very much like it had two parts. The first part seems a fairly simple, if well done, cop thriller - Denzel Washington on the trail of the bombers. When the military moves into New York, the other part of the movie begins. This part attempts to explore issues of civil rights, authoritarian governments and democracy, but manages this only in a clumsy fashion. The second part of the movie didn't seem to follow from the first, and some of the events of the latter half of the film do not make much sense to say the least. But it does work fairly well if viewed as an interesting "what if..." While I personally was extremely disappointed with the film's conclusion, the movie does raise some interesting issues.