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Old 04-25-2006, 12:47 PM   #1
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United 93 -- The Movie

i still don't want to see it, but apparently it's a terrific piece of moviemaking, currently running at 92% over on Rotten Tomatoes.

here's what one of my favorite critics had to say:



[q]LAST IMPRESSIONS
“United 93” and “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.”
by DAVID DENBY
Issue of 2006-05-01
Posted 2006-04-24


“No one is going to help us. We’ve got to do it ourselves.” Those plain, unarousing words, spoken by a man ordinary in looks but remarkable in perception and courage, are a turning point in “United 93,” Paul Greengrass’s stunning account of how a group of airline passengers, almost certain of death, decided on the morning of September 11th to fight back against hijackers on a suicide mission. But Greengrass doesn’t build the moment as a turning point in any conventional way. The words of the anonymous passenger, a round-faced man who has been studying the hijackers ever since they made their first moves, are spoken firmly but without emphasis, and no dead air is placed around the statement to give it extra weight. The hijackers have taken over the flight at knifepoint and murdered a passenger in first class, and everyone else, appalled, has gathered at the back of the plane. By this time, both the passengers and the crew understand what is going on. Many of them have spoken by cellphone to friends and relatives, and they know that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been hit. The hijackers aren’t going to land and hold them hostage; they are going to slam them into another building. The only issue—for the flight controllers and the military people we see at other points in the movie, as well as for the people on board—is what can be done to take control of a situation both terrifying and unprecedented. Greengrass’s movie is tightly wrapped, minutely drawn, and, no matter how frightening, superbly precise. In comparison with past Hollywood treatments of Everyman heroism in time of war, such as Hitchcock’s hammy “Lifeboat,” or more recent spectacles, like “War of the Worlds,” there’s no visual or verbal rhetoric, no swelling awareness of the Menace We All Face. Those movies were guaranteed to raise a lump in our throats. In this retelling of actual events, most of our emotion is centered in the pit of the stomach. The accumulated dread and grief get released when some of the male passengers, shortly after those few words are spoken, rush the hijackers stationed at the front of the plane with the engorged fury of water breaking through a dam.

A fair amount of distaste for this movie has been building in recent weeks. Would the heroic event—which ended when the plane crashed in Pennsylvania, killing everyone aboard—be exploited in some way? And why do we need to take this death trip? But “United 93” is a tremendous experience of fear, bewilderment, and resolution, and, when you replay the movie in your head afterward, you are likely to think that Greengrass made all the right choices. Born in England in 1955, he has directed, among other films, “Bloody Sunday,” a re-creation of the British Army’s massacre of Northern Irish protesters, in 1972; and “The Bourne Supremacy,” a franchise action movie in which a near-silent Matt Damon tears up Europe. What unites all three films is a dynamic use of the camera. It’s handheld and thrust into the tumult, yet somehow—and this is the essence of Greengrass’s art—we see what we need to see.

The movie begins slowly, with the morning prayers of the sweet-faced young men who will become the terrorists; the drowsy routine at Newark airport, where Flight 93, bound for San Francisco, began; the passengers amiably settling into the plane; the puzzlement at the Federal Aviation Administration command center, as first one and then another flight veers off course. When Flight 93 is hijacked, the passengers initially respond with panic, while the flight controllers on the ground, burning through their disbelief, try (without success) to rouse the military. Steadily, the editing becomes quicker, the language grows more terse and peremptory, and we begin to pick up details in a flash, out of a corner of the camera’s eye.

The hijackers kill the pilots, but Greengrass doesn’t show us their deaths; we just see their bodies being dragged across the cockpit, from the point of view of a flight attendant in the middle of the plane. Rejecting standard front-and-center staging, Greengrass works in half-understood fragments. When the passengers revolt, the violence is not an artfully edited fake but a chaotic, flailing scramble, and it’s not performed by charismatic types displaying their prowess. In a story of collective and anonymous heroism, we don’t want Denzel Washington leading the charge or Gene Hackman wrathfully telling the military to get on the stick. Greengrass uses real flight attendants, air controllers, and pilots, and mixes them in with little-known or unknown actors. As an ensemble, the players are stolid, but in a good way—they exhibit a combination of incomprehension and intelligence, befuddlement and alertness, that feels right. They live within the moment without overdefining it.

Flight 93’s departure, scheduled for 8 A.M., was delayed. By the time the plane got off the ground, the attacks on the World Trade Center were only a few minutes away. In the movie, once the flight is aloft Greengrass sticks to real time, and the passing minutes have an almost demonic urgency. This is true existential filmmaking: there is only the next instant, and the one after that, and what are you going to do? Many films whip up tension with cunning and manipulation. As far as possible, this movie plays it straight. A few people made extraordinary use of those tormented minutes, and “United 93” fully honors what was original and spontaneous and brave in their refusal to go quietly.

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/cin...501crci_cinema

[/q]
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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I'm going to the premiere tomorrow night. Will post my reactions.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #3
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i'm very torn over this issue... both with United 93 and Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," which i think is due in august.

i know people who died that day, but i'm not going to say that movie's shouldn't be made about the subject... i mean we've had movies about the holocaust, pearl harbor, the titanic, and countless other tragedies/disasters... and i've seen many of them.

while i think it's too soon for a hollywood production about 9/11, who am i to really say when is too soon? it's been 5 years... when would it be ok? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years?

i don't know... i'll probably go see it by myself at like a matinee. it's certainly not a "date" movie, that's for sure.

i think the fact that it's leading off TriBeCa helped me decide on wether to see it or not.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:29 PM   #4
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I plan on renting it, I don't plan on spending so much money to see it in the theater. As painful as it may be, I do want to see it.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:50 PM   #5
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i suppose one difference is that most of us didn't live through D-Day, the Holocaust, the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, and most of us weren't actually on the ground in Vietnam, whereas for most of us 9-11 happened in front of us on our TV screens. no, we weren't on that flight, but i've got a pretty good idea what happened, i don't see the need to dramatize such an event (whereas, for example, the dramatization of the Holocaust in "Schindler's List" was profoundly moving as it brought history to terrible life).

i have no problems with it being made, nor with people who want to see it, i just don't want to see it.

but then again, if it is as good a film as everyone is saying it is, and since Greengrass is a terrific up-and-coming director, i can't say that i'm not curious.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:01 PM   #6
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I'm torn about it, part of me wants no part of it but part of me wants to see it and wants to somehow honor those who died by seeing it. I know that sounds terribly corny and wrong (there are better things to do to honor them, maybe I'm not saying it in the correct way), Unfortunately I never made it to Ground Zero or to the United 93 or Pentagon sites to honor then in that way. I watched the tv movie on A&E about Flight 93 and the WTC TV documentary complete with the sounds of the falling bodies. Watching it in private is one thing, going to a theater is entirely different for me. I am afraid I will be emotionally uncomfortable in the extreme. I cry at movies all the time but obviously this is entirely different. Part of me also feels like it is terribly voyeuristic in some way and I hate that feeling.

But if the family members of some of those people can see it (and they have) then it is no sacrifice for me in comparison. I just worry that it is somehow another action/suspense movie a la Bourne Supremacy, tragically the ending of this one is all too real.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:25 PM   #7
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Am I the only one who has never quiet felt right about United 93? I'm not suggesting that Bush was behind 9/11, I'm just saying I often wonder if the passangers took over the plane - and if they did, why didn't they try to land it? - or if the plane was shot down.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:39 PM   #8
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I really don't want to see it.

I think it's way too soon. Movies like this should let some amount of time pass.

On the one hand, I read the 9/11 commission report, and I found the parts regarding the hijackings and what went on that day on those planes to be terribly heartbreaking. It is a difficult read, but I think an important one. On the other hand, I don't want to see the movie, because it just makes me uneasy I guess. What the people onboard did is incredibly heroic and I'm not sure that all of us here would do it, put in the same situation. Who knows. But what I find so sad about it is that there is really no happy ending there - not for the people who died, not for their families and not even for the rest of us because this world, post 9/11 is a shitty place to be. So the entire movie is a hard thing to take.

I'm not really opposed to it being made - that's something for the families to speak out about if they feel that way. I just personally don't want to see it.
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:39 PM   #9
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I'll probably see it. I don't know if it's too soon or not. I'd say not. WWII movies were being produced shortly after the war ended. (The Sands of Iwo Jima for example)
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
WWII movies were being produced shortly after the war ended. (The Sands of Iwo Jima for example)
Actually WWII movies were being made way before the United States even entered the war.

Casablanca
The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin
Confessions Of A nazi Spy
Foreign Correspondent Alfred Hitchcock
Dive Bomber

The Fighting Sullivans (about 5 American brothers killed on the Battleship Juneau shortly after Pearl Harbor) took less than a year to become a motion picture.

In the 40's Hollywood supported the war effort and churned out dozens of pro-America, pro-Allied pictures. War bonds were sold in theater lobbies. And people flocked to the movies. Fast forword to 2006 and Hollywood is staunchly anti-war, considers George Bush the enemy and actually awards Oscars to the movies that show the United States in the worst light.
Hopefully United 93 will open some eyes.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:19 PM   #11
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Seems like Hollywood has been fairly consistent in it's anti-fascism stance.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet
Am I the only one who has never quiet felt right about United 93? I'm not suggesting that Bush was behind 9/11, I'm just saying I often wonder if the passengers took over the plane - and if they did, why didn't they try to land it? - or if the plane was shot down.
I guess I am the only one. Let me clarify something. I'm not suggesting a huge conspiracy theory. And, who knows how people respond when their lives are threatened. Maybe they did try to save the plane. Based upon news reports, I'm just a bit skeptical in accepting the provided story.

Damn, I realized I spelt passengers incorrectly in my original post...I fixed it in this post, but I'm sure it's too late to edit my original. Oh well....
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:35 PM   #13
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as MrsSpringsteen stated...
Watching it in private is one thing, going to a theater is entirely different for me. I am afraid I will be emotionally uncomfortable in the extreme. I cry at movies all the time but obviously this is entirely different

I don't get to the theater very often, for many reasons. But I don't think I would see it in a theater. I may wait for it to air on cable or rent it, as U2Democrat said... I must say I was more intrigued about the movie after reading the review Irvine511 posted. Seeing the commercials on TV though, I just thought 'too soon'.
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:00 PM   #14
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Hollywood patriots in the 40's;
Two of it's biggest stars, Jimmy Stewart & Clark Gable, enlist and fly bombing missions over Germany.

Hollywood patriots of today;
Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and George Clooney bravely protest the war from their California mansions.
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
Hollywood patriots in the 40's;
Two of it's biggest stars, Jimmy Stewart & Clark Gable, enlist and fly bombing missions over Germany.

Hollywood patriots of today;
Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and George Clooney bravely protest the war from their California mansions.
Yet another unnecessary commentary from the armchair generals.

Melon
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