United 93 (2006)

I had fully intended to write a new review for this movie, but my old one still covers exactly how I feel about the movie.  I didn’t schedule this post for today, September 11th, to be disrespectful or snarky or whatever it is we on the Internet do to be funny or edgy.  I scheduled it for today as a tribute to those regular people who rose up that day, and yeah, I’m just some guy on the Internet, so whatever.  United 93 is still one of the hardest movies to watch, to the point where I was choking back tears watching it again.  Here is my review:

Paul Greengrass directs a veritable sea of no-name actors as he tells the mostly-factual tale of what may have happened on that horrible September 11, now 11 years ago. While the title of the film clearly indicates that the main focus of the film will be on United Airlines flight 93, there are plenty of heart-wrenching moments that take place on the ground at air traffic control towers across the United States. I’m sure we all have our own personal memories of that tragic day, and sitting down to watch a movie that is a recap of the events is one of the hardest things to emotionally steel yourself for. You know exactly what’s going to happen, and for that reason it’s one of the most captivating movies I’ve ever watched.

The creative team behind the scenes of the movie did their homework, talking to the families of those passengers on United 93 to best capture each respective person, to pay tribute to their memories. Unlike the Oliver Stone / Nic Cage World Trade Center movie (which I have seen, and is not a great movie at all), United 93 focuses on real people in an insane situation, and how they all banded together for that one shining moment to overthrow a group of people that were threatening the very symbols of American life. Those United 93 passengers fought together, even with the knowledge that they were most likely going to die shortly, and the emotional weight these scenes carry is expertly captured by Greengrass.

The only question I have is mostly of the musing out loud variety. Would this movie – technically sound but bereft of any famous faces or egos or flashy special effects – be as captivating and engaging as it is if it were just an original story idea? If 9/11 had never happened, would a film exactly like this be as stirring as it is? It’s impossible to say for sure, and whether or not you think of that as an important factor in reviewing the movie, well that’s up to you. I will hold this film up for people like Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, just to show them that you don’t need to insert a tortured romance angle or a dramatically billowing American flag into an American film to make it strike an emotional chord with people. It’s a technically sound but potentially emotionally disturbing film, but that’s just because for some people the subject matter may still be too raw in their hearts, even now 11 years later.

5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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