Wednesday, January 20, 2010

United 93

Paul Greengrass, 2006 (9.1*)
This is a perfectly harrowing account of the one hijacked airliner on 9/11 that did not have a chance to reach it's target due to the heroic actions of some of its passengers, instead crashing into the Pennsylvania countryside. Director Paul Greengrass keeps the viewer absolutely riveted, even though we all know the results beforehand. This is done with expert editing and constant shifting from the situation being monitored on the ground by air traffic controllers, the U.S. defense system at NORAD, who were awaiting orders from an absent President Bush, and the frightening events within the aircraft itself.

The viewer can actually see a trilogy of films that presents the day's events in chronological order. The Hamburg Cell traces the origins of the hijackers, then United 93 takes us along for the ride with one group on that doomed airliner, then Oliver Stone's World Trade Center puts us inside one of the two buildings with some of the firefighters who survived the building's collapse from the inside. Of the three films, United 93 is the most riveting and the most finely crafted.

This is currently ranked #686 on our Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Internet, and #67 for films of this decade. In my opinion, it should be ranked higher and will likely climb in the polls as it reaches more viewers.

3 comments:

Ben January 30, 2010 at 10:43 PM  

I never considered your idea of watching the "trilogy" of chronological 9/11 films. Interesting observation and it could especially be useful to educate viewers about the event in a linear fashion. Intriguing idea!

Jose Sinclair January 31, 2010 at 4:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jose Sinclair January 31, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

Thanks, Ben.. there's actually one more film dealing with the aftermath of firefighters' deaths that I didn't like enough to include, about a surviving widow's struggle to survive emotionally without her husband.. sorry that I've forgotten the name of this film, but it would actually present a viable epilogue to the whole story, as for me the effects of wars are hardest on civilians or scarred warriors who survive, as shown in the films The Best Years of Our Lives (the survivors), Mrs. Miniver (the worried mother), Dr. Zhivago, and recently The Kite Runner (refugees forced to flee their homeland).. those first two won Best Picture Oscars.. even the population of Moscow evacuated the city in War and Peace and watched it burning on the horizon

Thanks for the comments! - Jose

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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