October 08, 2007

United 93

Although I generally reserve my video reviews to a few sentences, one recent film deserves more. United 93, written and directed by Paul Greengrass (he of the excellent last two Bourne movies), is one of the best movies I've ever seen. This is why.

Featuring mostly unknown and little-known actors (Cheyenne Jackson was familiar to me), the film is a minute-by-minute account of what happened on that single flight, and also what was happening in the control towers on the ground. The rampant confusion and miscommunication is a microcosm of what was happening for all of us around the world as we struggled to understand what the news was saying and what to believe.

This movie is unusual for several reasons:

1. You already know what's happening. And you wish desperately you could stop it.

2. Unless you're under the age of 10, you remember this as a part of your own experience. So the film has a personal connection, like it or not.

3. The script moves at a constant pace. There's not time for breath, nor time for a break.

When this movie came out in 2006, I'm sad to say that I wasn't strong enough to see it. I wasn't ready to deal with the pain I knew it would bring up. And that's unfortunate, as I now think this was hands-down the best film of that year. If only the Academy and the country had been ready.

But the truth is, we're never ready. The pain of 9/11 is one that we would all like to forget, but we can't. I'm thankful that this film finally gave me the chance to grieve in a way I was never able to before.

It is a tribute to the passengers of United 93. It is a loving memory to all those who lost their lives or their loved ones on that day. It is a grim reminder to us all that our world will never be the same.

So thank you, passengers and crew of United flight 93, for your bravery, courage and determination. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives were saved. We are forever in your debt.

Please see this movie. Open your heart. Weep openly. Hug your loved ones. Never forget.

And if you are so moved and wish you could do something, you can. Consider a donation to the Flight 93 National Memorial, or any of the other excellent charities related to the 9/11 tragedy.


ScottE. said...

This was a tough one. J-lo's right though, it is a great movie. One I will probably never watch again. I'd put it in the category of Hotel Rwanda, Boys Don't Cry, Schindler's List; movies everyone should see once.

More than any news story or anniversary special, this movie really captured the emotion and frankly the massive confusion of that fateful day. Props to the cast and crew for making a strong movie without pandering to any political agenda and just speaking to the human experience.

joyous said...

I saw this a copule of weeks ago, and told everyone I saw that night to see this movie. It really is beautiful.