By Owen Gleiberman
Updated January 05, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

A big, square, rousing political-thriller docudrama that lays out, with engrossing urgency and detail, the seismic backroom maneuvers of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The film’s impact is rooted in the mind and spirit of John F. Kennedy, who, as played — wonderfully — by the Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood, seems to loom up out of the past, with both the stature of legend and the present-tense cut and sweat of humanity. Kennedy, facing down not just the Russians but his own military advisers, has to draw on every fiber of his intellect, his Machiavellian cunning, and his courage. Thirteen Days offers an unrelieved dose of early-’60s white men standing around in rooms, talking, but it’s a gripping glorification of what real leadership is all about. A-

Thirteen Days

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 135 minutes
  • Roger Donaldson