Thirteen Days

Thirteen Days

4.7 8
Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp

     
 

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An exemplary achievement as a film, and an equally exemplary achievement as a DVD. Ostensibly New Line's first Infinifilm disc (Little Nicky was, in fact, the first, with an Infinifilm version hidden as an easter egg), the DVD contains a selection of fairly normal features plus new features that utilize branching technology. The transfer is excellent. The filmSee more details below

Overview

An exemplary achievement as a film, and an equally exemplary achievement as a DVD. Ostensibly New Line's first Infinifilm disc (Little Nicky was, in fact, the first, with an Infinifilm version hidden as an easter egg), the DVD contains a selection of fairly normal features plus new features that utilize branching technology. The transfer is excellent. The film has been mastered anamorphically at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Colors are strong and accurate throughout (and the disc includes color bars to assist with setup) with deep blacks and good shadow detail. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. The image is sharp and clear, with no artifacts or softness. The Dolby 5.1 audio track has an excellent mix, with subtle use of atmospheric and ambient surround. The bass, when called up, is tight and clear and does not thump or rattle. Straightforward directional effects are few and far between in the mix, simply because they're not often called for. The ambient effects, however, more than make up for this, with each set given its own atmosphere. The Infinifilm feature places a broad semi-transparent blue bar at the bottom of the screen from time to time. Each time it appears, it offers one or more choices; by making a selection, the viewer is sent along a branching path to a snippet of information: filmographies, background information, clips from one of the two documentaries, and so forth. This certainly functions to broaden the experience of watching a film such as Thirteen Days, though not every movie would seem to call for this approach. Not content with offering this aspect, New Line has provided both a filmmaker's commentary track (executed as a roundtable with Kevin Costner, Roger Donaldson, David Self, and others), a historical figures commentary track compiled from a variety of recordings, a historical background commentary presented in subtitles, historical figure biographies, and cast and crew biographies. Additionally, there are two documentaries, "The Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis" and "Bringing History to the Silver Screen," along with a brief visual effects piece, a number of deleted scenes with director commentary, and the theatrical trailer. This is certainly a DVD worth owning, considering the wealth of material included; the extra materials are fascinating, and will take time to digest.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In 1962, unbeknownst to all but a select few, the world hovered on the brink of nuclear war for nearly two weeks. That agonizingly tense period, as experienced by the leaders of our government, is dramatized superbly in the suspenseful Thirteen Days. It began with the discovery that Russian missiles were being deployed in Cuba, a development totally unacceptable to both President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) and the Pentagon big shots already spoiling for a fight with the Soviet Union. Counseled by his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy (Steven Culp), and chief domestic adviser Kenny O'Donnell (top-billed Kevin Costner), JFK tries every trick at the diplomatic playbook in hopes of defusing an incendiary crisis. Director Roger Donaldson, who helmed Costner's 1987 breakout film, No Way Out, is punctilious in his re-creation of time and place, although he takes occasional liberties with the historical record -- combining characters and altering the sequence of events -- in trying to capture the essence of those extraordinarily perilous 13 days. Costner, the ostensible star, gets plenty of screen time; O'Donnell's role in the situation's management is somewhat inflated. But it's Greenwood, most frequently seen as a smooth villain, who rates the kudos for his compelling portrayal of JFK. A carefully crafted mixture of history and entertainment, Thirteen Days is an edge-of-the-seat thriller -- a remarkable achievement considering that, four decades later, we go into the movie already knowing how the crisis was resolved. Costner, Donaldson, and screenwriter David Self participate in a feature-length commentary for the DVD, which also includes deleted scenes, cast and crew bios, DVD-ROM content (including script-to-screen presentation), and historical notes on the real-life people who figured in the crisis.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
It may seem nearly impossible to create a taut, engaging thriller out of events where the outcome has already been predetermined (as they were in 1962), but the team that assembled this crackling political drama has succeeded. Thirteen Days triumphs as a story of the tests of human endurance, mostly because it never loses the sense of urgency of the situation at hand. With the aid of his perfectly in-sync cast, director Roger Donaldson never resorts to glossiness or pandering to present the film's tale of a conflicted president in the midst of chaos. Bruce Greenwood not only captures JFK's cadences and physicality, but also gives the former president an unmistakable core of integrity and believability. Kevin Costner and Steven Culp are equally nuanced as well; the film's most admirable trait is how it suggests the vitality of their friendship without resorting to pathos or cheap sentiment. It's rare to see a politically centered movie with this much heart: though Thirteen Days may not be as edgy or risk-taking as one might like, it is undeniably rooted in true emotion -- one of the rarest things to capture in popular entertainment.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
A tense and engrossing political thriller.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/10/2001
UPC:
0794043520228
Original Release:
2000
Rating:
PG13
Source:
New Line Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
2:27:00
Sales rank:
9,846

Special Features

Commentary by Kevin Costner, director Roger Donaldson, writer David Self and executive producer Michael De Luca, Documentaries "Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis" and "Bringing History to the Silver Screen", Visual effects scene deconstructions, Historical figures biography gallery, Deleted scenes with director commentary

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kevin Costner Kenneth P. O'Donnell
Bruce Greenwood John F. Kennedy
Steven Culp Robert F. Kennedy
Dylan Baker Robert McNamara
Michael Fairman Adlai Stevenson
Henry Strozier Dean Rusk
Frank Wood McGeorge Bundy
Kevin Conway Gen. Curtis LeMay
Tim Kelleher Ted Sorensen
Len Cariou Dean Acheson
Bill Smitrovich Gen. Maxwell Taylor
Dakin Matthews Arthur Lundahl
Madison Mason Adm. George Anderson
Christopher Lawford Cmdr. William B. Ecker
Ed Lauter Gen. Marshall Carter
Elya Baskin Anatoly Dobrinyn
Boris Krutonog Alexander Fomin
Peter White John McCone
James Karen George Ball
Tim Jerome Journalist
Olek Krupa Andrei Gromyko
Lucinda Jenney Helen O'Donnell
Oleg Vidov Valerian Zorin
Stephanie Romanov Jacqueline Kennedy

Technical Credits
Roger Donaldson Director
Marc Abraham Executive Producer
Peter O. Almond Producer
Andrzej Bartkowiak Cinematographer
Armyan Bernstein Producer
Thomas A. Bliss Executive Producer
Conrad Buff Editor
Cinesite Animator,Special Effects
Kevin Costner Producer
Dianne Crittenden Casting
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Paul Deason Co-producer
Richard Bryce Goodman Sound/Sound Designer
Ann Harris Art Director
Ilona Herzberg Executive Producer
Robert Huberman Asst. Director
Trevor Jones Score Composer
Nancy Mickelberry Set Decoration/Design
Mary Montiforte Co-producer
Isis Mussenden Costumes/Costume Designer
Denise Pizzini Set Decoration/Design
Julie Ray Set Decoration/Design
David Self Screenwriter
Staci A. Silva Associate Producer
Tom Taylor Art Director
Dennis Washington Production Designer
Don Woodruff Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Select a Scene
1. Opening Sequence: A World on the Brink [1:05]
2. Missiles Spotted in Cuba [1:50]
3. "I need to see the President, Kenny" [2:55]
4. National Security Briefing [1:51]
5. EXCOM Formed [2:24]
6. Battle Lines Drawn within EXCOM [3:11]
7. Military Options [2:17]
8. JFK Meets with Dobrynin & Gromyko [1:36]
9. JFK Keeps Appointment with Mayor Daley [2:04]
10. Quarantine or Air Strike [1:29]
11. Reston & Frankel Have the Story [2:28]
12. Defcon 3 [2:36]
13. Nation Awaits Presidential Decision [1:56]
14. Presidential Address [4:00]
15. Rules of Engagement [1:08]
16. Low-Level Cuban Fly-By [1:55]
17. Brink of Destruction [1:40]
18. Eyeball to Eyeball [:04]
19. Defcon 2 [2:04]
20. A Moral Contest [1:08]
21. Courtroom of World Opinion [1:55]
22. Enforcing the Line [1:20]
23. Back Channel Overture [:26]
24. Khrushchev's First Letter [1:06]
25. Khrushchev's Second Letter [:35]
26. Major Anderson [:51]
27. Running Out of Time [1:51]
28. Accepting the First Letter [2:26]
29. Facing the Enemy [1:54]
30. A New Dawn [:45]
31. Kennedy's Speech [1:54]
32. End Credits [2:39]

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