I remember when this movie played in the theaters, and I remember thinking I’d wait a few months and watch it on video. I just now realized that the movie played in 2001, and the last nine years have flown by while I blinked a few times.
Blinking is a term that’s used in this movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. I was just six years old then, and I therefore do not remember it happening. Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier, had placed nuclear missiles into Cuba, 90 miles from Florida and within striking distance of most of the United States. And more Soviet ships were coming across the Atlantic with more missiles. President Kennedy told the Soviets to take away the missiles or else. As the days went on, more and more tension built up on both sides. Misinterpretations, assumptions and flawed logic brought the world to the edge of annihilation. It’s frightening to think that nuclear brass was willing to push the button rather than make a phone call and possibly lose face.
Kennedy was the wiser man, it appears, and as a result, the Eastern Seaboard, all of Russia and Europe are still habitable, and I can be here writing this, breathing air today that is not polluted.
This movie tells the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, somewhat dramatized, but nonetheless frighteningly thought-provoking. I am 53 now, and I don’t remember this happening. That means that probably 90% of the world alive now does not remember this happening. For them, watching Thirteen Days is a must. Maybe, just maybe, the future president of the United States is watching it and it will make him a wise man so decades hence he keeps the finger off the button, even at the cost of bruising his ego, and we can all live.