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United 93 (2006)
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Review Date: May 29, 2006
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Paul Greengrass
Producers: Tim Bevin, Eric Fellner, Lloyd Levin
Actors:
Christian Clemenson as Thomas
Gary Commock as Leroy
Polly Adams as Deborah
Plot:
Based on the actual events that occurred on September 11, 2001, in particular, on the fourth flight to be hijacked by terrorists on that day: United flight 93. This film re-creates the background events from that day in real-time, but also hypothesizes about some of the stuff that might’ve ultimately occurred on the plane itself, since nobody will ever really know those details. What ensues is a dramatic look at a part of that terrible day.
Critique:
As seen at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival


A solid picture that thoroughly presents the tragic events from 09/11/2001, with specific detail lent to the final doomed hijacked flight from that day, shot in classic Greengrass shaky-cam style, giving the whole a documentary and voyeuristic feel. The film builds up to the events that ultimately occurred on that doomed flight, but at the same time, offers insight into all of the different background people who were being notified of all of the hijackings that morning, as well as all of the misunderstandings, miscommunications and ultimately, the slow response time, to those unexpected attacks on America. I was engaged throughout this entire movie, with all of the behind-the-scenes stuff really pulling me in, but despite being overly-emotional about the events from that day, I didn’t get as fully emotional through this film because I think it was more of a technical re-creation of the events, which ultimately led to the heroic efforts of all of the crew and passengers on that flight. The shaky-cam stuff was also a little too much at some points. I remember seeing bits of the TV movie “Flight 93” about this same event a few weeks ago, and that one seemed to have a greater focus on the relationships between the people on the flight and their families on the ground, speaking to them over their cellular or flight phones, while this film decided to focus more on the behind-the-scenes action of that fateful day.

Although most of the stuff during the first hour focused on the air traffic control people, as well as the military’s attempts to get “birds in the air”, that eventually started to get a little redundant as moments seemed to blend into one another after a while. Maybe that was the point of that section of the movie, now that I think about it. In the film’s second half, we get right into the airplane and experience the horror as a voyeur on the flight, as Greengrass gets his camera right into the action, while all of the actors come across as authentic, including the terrorists. The most interesting scene for me in this entire movie was the one in which the passengers and the terrorists are all shown praying to their God at the same time. The difference between this film and the aforementioned one though remains, as we don’t really get too much insight into any of the passengers here, and ultimately focus more on the overall tragedy of that day, as well as the passengers’ pro-active actions that ultimately saved many more lives on the ground. This movie obviously isn’t for everyone, as many people still think it’s “too early” to make a motion picture about these recent events, but if you think for a minute that the film might have anything “sensational” about it, allow me to dispel your worries, as this is more of a point-by-point blow of the events, with nothing particularly exploitative about it. In fact, some of the “actors” in the film were some of the actual people from that day on the ground, and the families of all of the perished from that flight, apparently all supported the making of this movie, which is, of course…the ultimate stamp of approval.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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