Monday, April 17, 2006

Anticipating United 93

I still can't decide what to think about this one, coming to wide-release world April 28.

On the one hand, Paul Greengrass is a first-rate director. His "Bloody Sunday" re-created that moment in Irish history with a storyteller's flair that kept you riveted even though you knew the horrible outcome. He also made a movie about the Omagh bombing for the BBC which my parents saw over the weekend and recommended highly.

I have confidence he can retell the story of the tragic flight that ended in a field in Pennsylvania on 9/11 without being exploitative.

However, will I want to watch it? Just the trailer gave me chills, so I expect it will be an intense experience, what I usually enjoy at the movies.

If this were fiction, I probably wouldn't bother to go. Seeing Harrison Ford or Steven Seagal battle terrorists (not snakes!) on a plane just isn't my idea of entertainment. Knowing this actually happened - and didn't end well, despite the heroic actions of the passengers - makes it a different animal. In the end I wish Greengrass would have waited until we have captured Osama bin Laden, but since our idea of fighting terrorists currently only consists of creating more of them in Iraq, that could be a very long wait.

Greengrass and his cast of unknowns, worried about the backlash, have gone out of their way to explain their motives in featurettes. Check them out at

One thing I know for sure, after my experience watching A History of Violence here in Macon, I'll try to see Flight 93 with as few people as possible. If anyone lets out a hoot or holler of any kind - like the lady directly behind me did twice when the son turned to violence in Cronenberg's great flick - when they hear "Let's roll" I may just lose it.


B.A. Slattery said...

So ... are you saying you won't see Snakes on a Plane? I see that as the pinnacle of terrorism. Frankly, I have no interest in United 93. The temptation to make it pure schmaltz will probably be too strong for the director of Bourne Supremacy.

Reel Fanatic said...

I DEFINITELY will see Snakes on a Plane ... that should be pure B-movie fun, and Samuel Jackson is, of course, the man

Mostskillz said...

I'm a little on the fence about this movie. Although they are donating 10% of earnings from opening weekend (3 days) to the families of victims of 9/11, I still feel like they are exploiting the incident.

I recall reading somewhere that many people complained when theaters showed the first full trailer. Following that, I noticed they pulled the original trailer and replaced it with a new trailer featuring families of those lost in the flight supporting the upcoming film.

Perhaps it's too soon for a movie like this?

B.A. Slattery said...

I hate the "too soon" argument against this film. It's not too soon; it's never too soon. However, if the film is hokey and manipulative, it's too soon for that particular film, as I believe 9/11 should be treated with raw, unflinching honesty, and be completely void of any jingoistic Bushite traps.

themarina said...

I have no interest in this movie either. I think there are very few film makers who have the capacity, knowhow and guts to tell this story - and I honestly don't think this guy is it. As for the donation of 10% of opening weekend to victims...I think this is a sad attempt at trying to make money. Seriously, what's 10% to these guys?

I'm not convinced of this movie on any front.

Great post though.

Matthew said...

Good point about people cheering in theatres. I saw A History of Violence in Phoenix, Ariz. and a few people cheered at completely inappropriate violent moments. Can only imagine what certain, um, "patriots" will do in United 93.

edieraye said...

You know, I am ready for a 9/11 film, just not this one. I think it is the heroic nature of the movie that bothers me. The events of that day were heart-wrenching, heroic, cowardly, selfless, selfish - basically every human emotion magnified. I don't want to lose the humanity in the heroic.

TGN said...

i'm looking for movies that portray depression, mania and bipolar affective disorder. could you suggest any?