Good evening my fellow citizens…This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet Military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.” These are the exact words spoken by John F. Kennedy in his address to the nation on October 22, 1962.
[...] After reading many historical timelines and sources about the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I must admit that this is one the truest historical films I have scene. The script writers scoured all the sources they could find to make the film as believable as possible. The main source which the script writers used was the book mentioned earlier by May and Zelikow. Not only do these two lay out the events perfectly, but they contain many primary sources, which the writers would have needed to search for in libraries. [...]
[...] The film takes the audience through the entire thirteen days of the crisis, moving in and out of different meetings and conferences. The plot is very true to reality as so are many of the character. Both Greenwood and Stephen Culp, the actor who played Robert Kennedy, studied their characters' voices and defining characteristics very closely, at times almost resembling the two brothers. Most of the dialogue that took place during the EXCOM and other meetings is taken more or less word for word from the documents. [...]
[...] During the meetings the army officials are depicted as warmongerers who will everything in their power to convince the president and even the public that an air strike is necessary. The two prominent chiefs, Gen. Curtis LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff and Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff take commanding roles in the film. In the film Lemay is even shown saying, big red dog is digging in our backyard and we are justified in shooting it down.” Actually, during the first EXCOMM meeting it was General Taylor who questioned the validity of the missile buildup, trying to convince the others to look at the facts, something Secretary of Defense McNamara was adamant about. [...]
[...] I would like to discuss one interpretation that Donaldson used in the film, dealing with Costner's character. I wish that Donaldson would have downplayed Kevin Costner's character because he tries to steal the show, when in reality his character was not that influential in Kennedy's decision making. There a few times when he takes control of the movie in places that are better left with him in the background. For example, in one scene when President Kennedy is preparing to give his address to the nation, Costner's character takes the stage and leads JFK into a private room to give him a sort of pep talk. [...]
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