Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director/Writer:Rod Lurie
Paramount; R; 101 minutes
Cast:Kevin Pollack, Timothy Hutton, Sheryl Lee Ralph

Think locally, act globally. 2008. Saddam Hussein's son has invaded Kuwait and is poised to upset Western economic equilibrium. A sudden snowstorm strands the first Jewish American President (Kevin Pollack) at a diner in Aztec, Colorado. Connected to the world via four telephones and a handful of aides, the president?on his re-election campaign?issues a fierce ultimatum to Iraq: withdraw or in 90 minutes the U.S. will launch a nuclear assault.

Deterrence is the debut film by former movie critic and Westpoint graduate Rod Lurie. He has created a gripping drama whose cautionary tone is balanced by ethnic complexities. The entire film takes place in Aztec, with quick cuts to global information sources, and yet it never lags. Any claustrophobia is intentional. The diner is equipped with Cabinet members who attempt to dissuade the president (Timothy Hutton and Sheryl Lee Ralph) and a motley collection of locals: the black cook, the yuppie couple, the bigot, etc. Interpersonal tensions flare as conflict between nations escalates and the result is a surprisingly mature first movie.

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