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June 30, 2006

United 93 - 7

I saw this film with two friends, and we came to this ranking by consensus and had good conversation following the film. The main critique being that music as a soundtrack in certain sections of the film were unneeded. Other films with this subject matter might be labeled manipulative, but this film is pretty up front with what it want to do, instigate an emotional reaction. The film is also good at starting the conversation: "Where were you, and what were you doing on 9/11?" The film is very unconventional in that it is somewhat of a documentary, the audience is merely an observer. Because of this there is no character development, you just see what they may have said and done given the events. The film is very much about the event. The film also uses a European shaky-cam technique that contributes to its realism. The script and actions, especially the violence also are very realistic (no Michael Bay here). The thing I think the film does best is point out that is not really any individual who is to blame for this tragedy. It is rather that because America has perfect bureaucracy and efficiency, it does not easily handed when things start to go berserk.
Also of interest is that this film was written and directed by Paul Greengrass, a British filmmaker. Also in random trivia: (1) Jeff pointed out that Old School is probably the first film to deal with 9/11 (There is a scene early on where Luke Wilson goes through airport security holding his shoes with a gun pointed at him). (2) Bruce Springsteen's The Rising is good art in response to 9/11, as is Ian McEwan's Saturday. (3) The story takes place pretty much right over where we watched the film and where we live- eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, the plane crashed about a half hour east of Pittsburgh.

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