I’d seen this film some time ago and forgotten about it until well into the first ten minutes. Afterwards I noticed that I had voted it a six out of ten on IMDB, but it wasn’t until watching now, after the Twin Tower attacks and during the Iraq war, that it lifted itself in status for me.
It presents a lot of the feeling that is coming from the West right now towards the Islamic community, and is indeed echoing the actions of the West. Some of the comments made from the officials in the US Government earily mirror those made during this film, and not in a good way either.
This film shows what might happen if a number of terrorist cells locate themselves in the US and execute a plan of repeated attacks. In this case it is to try and secure the release of their illegally (and secretly) imprisoned leader by the US Army without the knowledge of the US Government. These attacks continue with no apparent end, and without any of the agencies involved knowing how many cells are involved. The FBI head the investigation and try to discover the cells, meeting resistance from mainly their own Government and Agencies, and not the Islamic community.
Denzel Washington provides a strong and emotionally charged FBI Special Agent in charge of the team of investigators, Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard. He is strongly backed up by Tony Shalhoub playing Hub’s partner an Islamic FBI Agent, Frank Haddad. Annette Bening provides strong support in her role as a CIA operative as does Bruce Willis in his role as the Major General in charge of the US Army.
Despite some flaws of Agent Hubbard being allowed to continue to investigate despite the major terrorist attack and his lack of resources, his single handed saving of the school children and arresting various CIA and Army soldiers throughout the film, it does do a good job of showing the steps of escalation in a city dominated by rising terrorist attacks.
The tension is built throughout and is most effectively shown during the sequence where Hubbard is briefing the security community in a lecture hall and a page goes off. It’s excellently timed.
The film also shows the intolerance, paranoia and uprising of the general public when events take their worst turn and New York is placed under martial law with the US Army carrying out house to house searches and placing a large portion of the Islamic community in secured camps in football stadiums.
A good thriller, with some flaws, but still effectively shows the issues faced by a Government introduced to a rising terrorist threat. It does hold a very unflattering mirror to some of the current events.