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Tue April 18, 2006
An enjoyable suspension-of-disbelief time.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"For where Love reigns, disturbing Jealousy
Doth call himself Affection's sentinel . . . ."
Shakespeare: Venus and Adonis
The Sentinel is an unabashed "B" thriller about an attempted assassination of the president and an agent accused of being a mole. It is especially interesting because its protagonist, Secret Service Agent Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas), is having an affair with First Lady Sarah Ballentine (Kim Bassinger).
Attractive leads with an improbable premise (Who would sacrifice a cool job for trysts with Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Barbara Bush?) and plot holes a plenty can't deter the audience from enjoying the presidential protection panorama and the sub plot that rivals Princess Diane's own indiscretions.
The usual shiny black SUV's, drum rolling music, and international baddies make this a usual spy thriller with the added fillip of a fit, charismatic Douglas, ditto Bassinger, very ditto Eva Longoria as a new agent, and an underplaying Kiefer Sutherland as David Breckenridge, Garrison's former partner. The cast is so strong that the plot improbabilities evaporate; the aura of the presidency and the strains that must exist in protecting him make the cinematic flourishes seem real.
The film tries to touch on such issues as loyalty, both professional and personal. It's also nice to see that the women's roles are not marginalized but integral to the story.
All in all, The Sentinel is an enjoyable suspension-of-disbelief time.
"Hence, away! now all is well:
One aloof stand sentinel."
Shakespeare: Midsummer's Night Dream
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com