United 93
Director: Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy, The Theory of Flight)
Writer: Paul Greengrass
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lloyd Levin
Starring: Lewis Alsamari, JJ Johnson, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, Opal Alladin
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 111 min
read my spoiler disclaimer



Saying goodbye.
      September 11, 2001. A day that none of us will forget. Four American commercial planes were hijacked that day. Three of those planes struck their targets. One did not. One failed because a small band of heroic Americans were determined to make sure that it would fail. Even if it cost them their lives.

      This is not a movie. It is not fun or entertaining. It is a horrific, yet gripping reanactment of just one part (an important part) of the events that took place on that horrible day. Director/writer Paul Greengrass took immeasurable pains to make sure that everything in this film are as true to life as possible. One review I read stated that this film is even more realistic than it was that day watching on TV. On TV that day, it seemed like a Hollywood movie. The movie, ironically enough, is the most realistic thing I have ever seen. Of course a little bit of creative license had to be taken with some of the dialogue spoken on board the plane. No one truly knows what was going on up there that day. But Greengrass allowed his actors (more on them later) to feel and speak what they felt; creating an eerie realism and connection to, and with, every person aboard Flight 93.

      This film, for me, was divided into emotions. It's the most emotionally draining film I can remember ever seeing. The first emotion was anticipation and trepidation. I wanted to see how a film maker would capture the events of 9/11. I was actually really looking forward to seeing this movie, even though I was initially against it being made. Anticipation faded quickly however.

Frustration & Disbelief:
      Much of the film takes place in the various air traffic control centers in the area: Boston, New York, West Virginia and even a military control room. These were the frustrating times. The first 45 minutes, when we begin to realize what is going on, it is so frustrating to sit and watch all of these top officials in utter and total disarray. No one, NO ONE, had a clue what to do. Chaos ruled the day. It made me so angry. Planes are crashing into buildings and the guys on the ground, who are supposed to be in charge, seem to have their collective heads up their asses. No communication and no leadership. It's not their fault, it's a question of procedure; and there just wasn't one for this contingency.

Numbness & Shock:
      Reliving that day all over again is not easy. I can't imagine how it must be for friends and family members of the victims. Seeing the reactions of traffic controllers as they watch the buildings in flames and collectively hold their breath as a blip (representing a hi-jacked plane) disappears from their radar. It's interesting to see it all from their perspective - heartbreaking to see it from their perspective.

The counter attack is planned.
Anger:
      Governmental procedure. Again, no blame, but that doesn't make it easy to sit and watch the complete breakdown of anything resembling control. Unarmed fighter planes? I'd like to quote the General in charge of the miltary control base, but it's got bad words. Let's just say he was not pleased. Nor was I.

Sadness:
      As the passengers fate begins to become clear, the terror and sadness begins. Seeing the calls to loved ones to say goodbye and/or get more information was unbelievably moving. I have no idea where the casting director found the people who act in this movie. Every...single...one of them were totally magnificent and real. I recognized one or two guys vaguely from TV or something, but for the most part, I had never seen or heard of any of these people before. I think this lends itself very much to the realism. As their roles take on a life of their own, tears will well up and sniffling will ensue. There's nothing more I can say. I saw very few dry eyes leaving the theater. Possibly because it was difficult to see through my own tears.

Rage:
      There were a couple of guys walking out of the theater acting "pumped up" about the film. Normally, I would just shake my head in disgust and scoff and them for not "getting it." But I have to admit, I also had a twinge of this reaction. You feel pride and true rage as the passengers take back their plane. It actually feels good to see a terrorist get his ass kicked by normal, hardworking, and above all, heroic Americans.

      Remember, this is not a Hollywood looking movie. It is something very real that comes alive for you to see and feel. It is quite possibly the most powerful film I have ever seen and maybe ever will see. Although the blood is kept to a tolerable minimum, most of what happened that day is slammed in your face once again with nothing held back. Leaving the theater, shaking slightly, it was difficult to come to grips with all of these emotions at once. I fought the urge to call Mom when I got home just to say 'hi.' It's actually a little difficult to even write about it. If you can handle it, see this soon.




Links:
IMDb.com - full cast and crew
Official Site







drewbacca@moviepatron.com