Friday, March 5, 2010

United 93

Today I sat down and watched the first movie from my list that I had wanted to watch.

I watched United 93.

It was the only film in the list earlier mentioned that I had not seen before making the list itself.

I must admit that I was a bit wary about watching this film. I was wondering if it was going to be an adequate depiction. And an honor to those on the flight.

Seeing the plaque in the Capitol Building when we took our tour is what stuck in the back of my mind when I picked it up at a friend's house and asked to borrow it. It had not yet been opened, and they have had it for years. I had originally gone to see if they had any of the films on dvd that I had on my list (I have about half on vhs and half on dvd) and intended not to watch this particular film at all, but as I was looking through their collection, that one stuck in my mind, and I decided to add it to my list of films.

I remember September 11, 2001, so vividly. I was sitting in my homeroom as a freshman in high school. It was during iStep testing, and as a freshman, we take the Terra Nova, which is a prep type of exam for another exam that we need to graduate from high school. My homeroom was located in the kitchen/restaurant classroom and I was in the second row, first desk. My best friend Lindsay was in the desk next to mine because of alphabetical seating. My teacher left the room for a meeting that had been called, and when she returned she told us what had happened and we spent the rest of our time in there watching CNN. I remember watching with everyone else, as the live footage scrolled and the second plane flew into the second tower.

When I first heard about the film, I thought that it was too soon. Too soon for a film like this to be made about 9/11. And I was worried it was going to be exploitative. When it was being made, it had only been 4 years, and by the films release, it would be 5 years.

As the movie begins. It flashes to the hijackers in their morning routine of prayer and reading of the Koran, and getting ready for their day. As you watch the film, at least for me, there was attention to detail for each person on the plane. At one point the pilots are talking about their families to one another. Another passenger comments to a fellow passenger about their work. You very subtly are introduced to each person on the plane. It captured the chaos in several different places as the events of the day unfold in real time. And it was very well put together. The whole film itself was very emotional. The chaos in the air traffic control centers and the military centers is palpable. And the feelings of helplessness once they realized the situations in the air are felt. On the flight - it felt as if you were there. The last 15 minutes of the film are... just that. It leaves you speechless. It's high intensity. The final moments, you see the field in Pennsylvania spiraling closer and closer to the screen and then the screen cuts to black and you are left in silence. After several seconds, the music starts and this appears: "Of the four aircraft hijacked that day, United 93 was the only one that did not reach its target. It crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03am. No one survived." Several more screens flash information about 9/11 before the credits roll.
There is a documentary in the special features on the dvd that walks through the process of talking with the family members of those that were on board the flight. For me, that was beneficial to hear what they thought of making the film and to watch the actors meet them, especially because of my thoughts of it being too soon to make the film.

This film surpassed everything that I could have hoped for in a movie about what occurred on flight United 93. It was very very well done.

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