Thirteen Days

Adapted by David Self from a book entitled The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis, this thriller is a lot better than you might expect, especially for a Kevin Costner vehicle. Costner plays Kenny O’Donnell, an aide to President Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) who shares his boss’s Bostonian accent but is basically decor next to him, his brother Bobby (Steven Culp), Robert McNamara (Dylan Baker), and various Pentagon warmongers such as Curtis LeMay (Kevin Conway). Framing JFK as the man who prevented World War III is surely an idealist fantasy, but it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for a time when, in order to prevent war, Kennedy and Khrushchev had to trust each other more than any Democrat or Republican seemed capable of doing during the 2000 presidential election. Director Roger Donaldson measures out this old-fashioned entertainment with a fair amount of pizzazz. 145 min. (JR)

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