World Trade Center

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World Trade Center
Review (9/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

I was recently in New York City with a roomful of journalists who were questioning why World Trade Center was made. As I sat there, listening to them bashing the movie and bashing Oliver Stone for making it, I have to admit that I had a lot of difficulty understanding what they were arguing about.

On September 11th, five years will have passed since the unimaginable tragedies occurred in New York and Washington that killed thousands and changed the world as we know it. As that unforgettable anniversary approaches, I guess the question that I have to ask is why shouldn't this movie be made? Since when do we avoid discussing significant events in our history because they are unpleasant, even horrific? Isn't it important to remember? Isn't that why movies such as Schindler's List, Platoon and Munich have been made? Why should movies about September 11th be any different?

That, in a nutshell, is the message behind Oliver Stone's World Trade Center - that it is important to remember, and in particular that it is important to remember not only the tragedy of that day, but also the heroes and the miracles that emerged from the ashes where the twin towers once stood.

Given his filmography, I believe that a lot of people expected that Stone would treat this movie as a platform to rail against George Bush and the war in Iraq, or that he would make a sensational disaster movie that focused on the horror of the World Trade Center tragedy.

In reality, Stone has made a film that is subdued and contemplative, that treats its subject-matter with care and respect and that tells the unlikely story of the miraculous rescue of two of the heroes of September 11th. It is an emotional rollercoaster, and at times difficult to watch because of the powerful emotions it evokes, but it is also a beautiful tribute to those who lived and those who, tragically, did not.

World Trade Center tells the story of John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), two Port Authority Police Officers who were in the first tower to help with rescue efforts but became trapped in the rubble when the tower collapsed. Told through their eyes and through the eyes of their wives (played by Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal), the film gives the audience a sense of the confusion, dread, sorrow and, in some cases, the joy that was experienced by the people who were in the towers and their families who waited for them to come home.

There is not a great deal more to say about this film. Stone's re-creation of the World Trade Center site and its surrounding area is eerily similar. One wonders how much difficulty he had convincing the City of New York to allow him to re-create the scene that everyone in the city would prefer to forget. The performances in the movie were outstanding for their credibility. The cameo appearances by the real-life John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno were a fitting conclusion to this remarkable tribute.

World Trade Center is a film that everyone should see. Although it is difficult at times to watch, it is important to watch and to remember the day that showed us both the best and the worst that humanity has to offer.

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