Edward Zwick made trivial Hollywood spectacles (not quite films).
About Last Night (1986)
Leaving Normal (1992)
Legends of the Fall (1994)
Courage Under Fire (1996)
The Siege (1998) is a political thriller full of stereotypes but
with strong ethical overtones.
CIA agents kidnap an influential sheikh in Saudi Arabia.
Some time later two FBI agents, Anthony (a black man) and Frank (who was born in an Arab country) are called to the site of a terrorist attack: terrorists have
seized a bus. They have no demands. They don't injure anybody but leave behind a "paint bomb" as a warning. Later the FBI receives a fax demanding the release
of the sheikh, except that the FBI knows nothing of the sheikh.
While investigating, Anthony and Frank find a female CIA agent called Elise
who is investigating the crime scene without their permission. Since she refuses
to tell Anthony what she knows about Islamic terrorists, Anthony orders her
Anthony and Frank follow an Arab suspect who is carrying a lot of money.
He escapes but is captured by Elise. The suspect claims that the money was
simply dowry. She still refuses to cooperate so Anthony arrests her.
As they are taking her to the police station, they are summoned to the scene
of another bus hijacking. The terrorists again make no demands.
They accept to release the children but then blow up the bus killing everybody
Anthony interrogates the Arab suspect but realizes that he is just a "mule" (a courier of money).
The FBI finds the name of one of the suicide bombers and arrests the man
who signed his application for a study visa. This Samir, however, is protected
by Elise because he works for her. She still doesn't volunteer everything
she knows about the terrorist cell. Later we see that she sleeps with Samir.
Meanwhile, Anthony gets to meet an army general, Devereaux.
Thanks to a tip from Samir, Anthony and Frank destroy a terrorist cell
but they don't have time to celebrate: another terrorist cell blows up
a theater killing 200 people. Then another terrorist takes children hostages
and Anthony risks his life to kill him and free the children.
Pundits and politicians debate whether martial law should be imposed and the
army sent to restore order.
When another terrorist cell blows up the FBI headquarters, killing 600 people, the president of the USA authorizes martial law.
The general has not disclosed to the president that he is detaining the sheikh.
Devereaux's soldiers and tanks seal Brooklyn and arrest thousands of young Arab men (including Haddad's son) with no trial.
Anthony continues his investigation, finally helped by Elise whose real name
turns out to be Sharon. Sharon tricks Samir into revealing the name of another
ringleader, Tariq. The army however is eavesdropping and launches
a massive operation to arrest Tariq just when Anthony and Elise are about
to arrest him. Anthony demands in vain that he be surrendered the prisoner:
the general orders the man to be tortured. Anthony begs him in vain to
avoid the torture, arguing that resorting to torture means that the
terrorists won. Tariq doesn't know any names and dies under torture.
Sharon reveals to Anthony that the sheikh was a US ally in Iraq that
was betrayed by the USA, and his terrorists were trained by her own group.
She helped the group obtain visas to the USA to protect them from retaliation
after the USA abandoned them. The terrorists are using the methods that she
taught them. Sharon thinks that there is only one remaining terrorist cell.
Anthony and Sharon convince Samir to arrange a meeting with the remaining terrorist cell.
This time they find a way to avoid the surveillance by the army and operate
without interference. Samir takes Sharon to a public bathhouse after telling her
that the terrorist cell will blow up a bomb to kill the peaceful protesters
who are marching against the army. At the bathhouse she realizes that
Samir himself is the remaining terrorist. Anthony and Frank arrive just in time
to stop Samir but Sharon is killed in the crossfire.
Now that it is clear that it all started with the unauthorized kidnapping of
the sheikh, Anthony leads an FBI raid to arrest the general for torturing and
killing Tariq. The general's soldiers and the FBI agents face each other with guns but eventually the general follows Anthony peacefully and all detained Arab men are released.
The Last Samurai (2003)
Blood Diamond (2006)
Love & Other Drugs (2010)
Pawn Sacrifice (2014)
Jack Reacher - Never Go Back (2016)
Trial by Fire (2018)
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