United 93

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United 93
Review (10/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

United 93 is the movie that tells us the story of the brave passengers on board the hijacked plane that it is believed terrorists planned to crash into the White House on September 11, 2001. Knowing that two planes had already been flown into the World Trade Center in New York, a group of passengers stormed the cockpit in an attempt to thwart whatever plans the four terrorists had for the plane. Unfortunately, the Boeing 757 crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing everyone on board but these passengers did not die in vain and will forever be amongst the bravest men and women who have ever graced this earth.

Written and directed by Paul Greengrass, United 93 tells us the ill-fated story from the time the plane left the ground to the moment it crashed. It does not focus on any one passenger or any specific person. It does not concentrate on the phone calls made from the plane (like the film Flight 93 that was shown on A&E earlier this year). The movie cuts away frequently to various airport control towers, the FAA's command centre and NORAD's military control centre. We get to see the shock and confusion as the chaos unfolded on September 11th. Everyone seemed to be caught in a state of panic and disbelief and really, that is understandable.

Watching the events unwind on the big screen really was a surreal experience in many ways. I found United 93 to be extremely intense and very powerful. The part of the movie that I found the most difficult was watching the planes crash into the World Trade Center, especially the second plane. There is complete silence as we watch the plane fly into the tower from the view of a New York air traffic control tower. It is as shocking to watch it now as it was 4 1/2 years ago. You will remember the exact moment in your life of where you were and how you saw it when you watch it again. Heartbreaking, to say the least.

United 93 will cause controversy. I have heard questions as to whether it is too soon to make such a movie and whether this movie should have been made at all. I really don't have an answer to these questions and I am not even sure if there is a right answer. I will suggest this - if you are not comfortable with a movie dealing with September 11th, if your emotional wounds are not yet healed, don't see this movie. It is at times, a perplexing and unpleasant movie. But at the same time, I do not think Greengrass is disrespectful of the situation. He is simply telling the story, to the best of his knowledge and based on the facts he was able to gather, and is not trying to sensationalize or dishonor the sensitivity of the circumstances.

This movie is not about great acting, fancy camera work, special effects or anything like that. This movie is about a day that has changed the history of the world forever. It is about a group of people who did everything they could to prevent the murderers from following through with their demented plan and in the process probably saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives. We should not forget that in all the tragedy of September 11th, there were heroes and many of them. United 93 tells us the story of some of those heroes and although it is a difficult subject, the story is told with dignity and class. There is no hidden message, no political agenda and no controversial theories as to what happened on that day. Some people feel this movie should not have been made but the fact is it's done and I do not think a more respectful job could have been done than the movie that has been made by Greengrass. Just make sure you are ready to handle it. Not everyone is ready.

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