A tense dramatisation of the Cuban Missile Crisis between the US and the Soviet Union.

4
The Kennedys, the Cubans and the Cold War.

In October 1962, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was faced with the greatest crisis of his career when US Spy planes provided photographic evidence that the Russians had smuggled medium-range ballistic missiles into Cuba which, under Fidel Castro, had recently turned to communism. Keeping the shocking news secret for as long as possible from the public, JFK, his brother Robert and his White House staff and advisers agonised over the proper response to this act of aggression.

The military, the Chiefs of Staff, were all in favour of an armed response, but this would clearly have triggered an even greater response from the Soviets, with Berlin likely to be the first casualty - it was an agonising 13 days.

This gripping, sober film, scripted by David Self and directed by Roger Donaldson (who was a boy in Ballarat at the time of the crisis) will enthral audiences who remember how tense the world was back then, when the threat of nuclear war seemed so very real (Stanley Kubrick caught the mood exactly when he made Dr. Strangelove the following year).

Though Bruce Greenwood doesn`t really look like JFK, he brings the proper authority to the role, and Stephen Culp is perfect as Bobby. Kevin Costner anchors the drama as a Kennedy adviser and member of the Irish contingent in the White House at the time.

The film concentrates on the crisis itself; there`s no mention of JFK`s private life - just a fleeting glimpse of Jackie. But the tension is palpable as the screws are tightened and, though this is an interior piece of filmmaking, which won`t lose a great deal when you see it on the small screen, it`s an effective and suspenseful reminder that the fate of the world is in the hands of a very few men.