Deterrence (2000)


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Movie Info

The world finds itself on the brink of nuclear disaster, with the balance point a small diner in Colorado, in the suspenseful political thriller Deterrence. In the year 2008, U.S. President Walter Emerson (Kevin Pollak), who recently took office after the death of the former chief executive, is campaigning for re-election. After winning the Colorado state primary, Emerson finds himself stranded in a roadside diner after a freak snowstorm. Traveling with Emerson are his chief of staff, Marshall Thompson (Timothy Hutton), national security advisor Gayle Redford (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and a network TV crew. While the president exchanges pleasantries with the diner's staff and customers, a new bulletin appears on TV: Udei Hussein, son of the late Saddam Hussein, has invaded Kuwait and butchered several hundred U.S. peace-keeping troops. Outraged, the president announces that if Hussein and his forces do not withdraw and officially surrender, he will begin dropping nuclear weapons on Baghdad. However, Iraq responds that if they are attacked, 23 cities in the United States and allied nations will be immediately destroyed in a counterattack. Emerson, his advisors, and the others trapped in the diner with them debate long and loud about what to do, and what the potential consequences could be. Deterrence was written and directed by former film critic Rod Lurie.

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Kevin Pollak
as President Emerson
Sean Astin
as Ralphie
Uzi Gal
as Iraqi Ambassador
Michael Mantell
as Taylor Woods
Joe McCrackin
as Agent Williams
Amit Mehta
as Abu Hussein
Kristen Shaw
as Alexandra Emerson
Ryan Cutrona
as Special Agent Dexter
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Critic Reviews for Deterrence

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (11)

The film begins and ends with footage of FDR intoning "I hate war," something the film takes two interminable hours to say.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The talk grows tired while the tension, alas, barely grows at all. And the ending is a cheat, pure and simple.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: C

The plot twists fall about as weightily as the fake snow.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: D | Full Review…

Deterrence does serve up some wonderfully chewy pulp during its generally engaging 101 minutes, along with a certain vagueness of point-of-view.

Jan 1, 2000
Top Critic

A very effective updating of the underrated Cold War thriller Fail-Safe.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4

One of the pleasures of Deterrence is that it does not tell the audience what to think.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Deterrence

I really REALLY like this one. The premise is simple, in a snowed in diner in the middle of Colorado the president gets stuck on the way to an air force base. The possibility of nuclear war ensues.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic][color=darkslategray] "Deterrence" is a movie set in the year 2008 during the Colorado presidential primary. During which, the presidential party is stranded in a diner in the middle of a blizzard. At which point, there is a news alert about Iraq invading Kuwait. "Deterrence" is a throwback to cold war thrillers such as Fail-Safe. Now, this movie is undeniably tense throughout(led by a fine performance with Kevin Pollak as the President) but the ending is a copout. [/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=#2f4f4f] The movie has a larger problem which is that this movie was made in 1999 and the world has changed immensely since then. So, it's impossible to imagine Uday Hussein leading an invasion of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia now, much less breathing. In fact, it's hard to imagine Iraq presenting this much of a threat now, and not taking terrorism into question.[/color][/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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