Thirteen Days

Few people today never really knew just how close the two superpowers came to armed conflict in 1962. JFK faced the greatest challenge of his or any office save that of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Truman. Not only did a potential war loom in the balance, but also the wholesale exchange of Nuclear weapons between the Russia and America seemed likely.
At issue was evidence by a U-2 spy plane that Russia was placing First strike Nuclear weapons in Cuba that were capable of hitting any city in America outside of the Pacific Northwest. Should a weapon be launched, there would not be enough time to take action, and the results would be devastating. The politicians all with their own agendas battled long and hard. Some called for patience and compromise with Russia, while others called for fast, pre-emptive military action.

The film focuses on Kenneth O’Donnell (Kevin Costner) who is Chief of Staff and adviser and friend to JFK. Bruce Greenwood (JFK) plays Kennedy as a man determined to do the right thing but to avoid war at any cost, even though wishing he did not have to make the decisions that held the fate of the world in the balance.

The film was very well acted and tense, and Costner and Greenwood were very good as was Steven Culp in a supporting role as Kennedy’s brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy. It would have been nice to see the side of the conflict as viewed by the Russians. That being said, the film is a solid effort that is riveting and entertaining, and highly informative, especially to a generation who only knows of this crisis as a paragraph in the history books, if they know of it at all.

4 stars out of 5