United 93 recreates the doomed trip in actual time, from takeoff to hijacking to the realization by those onboard that their plane was part of a coordinated attack unfolding on the ground beneath them. The film attempts to understand the abject fear and courageous decisions of those who-over the course of just 90 minutes-transformed from a random assembly of disconnected strangers into bonded allies who confronted an unthinkable situation.
Bourne Supremacy director and shaky camera superfan Paul Greengrass tackles the biggest hot button issue in America by making an action movie out of it. United 93 re-enacts the events aboard the fourth hi-jacked September 11th jet as its passengers attempted to retake the plane from terrorist hijackers. They werenít able to save themselves, but they were able to save others. United Airlines Flight 93 nose dived into an empty field, instead of into the Whitehouse or the Pentagon.
Even years later, the wounds of September 11th remain raw. Osama Bin Laden is still free, the United States is still mired in Afghanistan, and though there hasnít been another attack itís hard to claim that weíre any safer now than we were then, though weíve been slowly giving up freedoms under the pretense that doing so will make us safer. Whether thatís a good idea or not, youíll have to decide for yourselves. This is a movie preview, not a political thesis.
But itís hard to talk about United 93 without at least thinking about current world politics. Greengrass promises to avoid politics and focus on the smaller story of his movie, on the heroic actions of a few people on the worst day of their lives, rising to the occasion. Yet much of the story of Flight 93 remains speculation. All Greengrass can really offer us is his opinion of what happened on that day, based on whatever facts are available. Will his opinion of what happened replace realities of that day? Almost certainly. When people think World War II, these days they think of Saving Private Ryan, not something written in a stale history book.
Normally, Iím the first to stand up and say who cares about historical accuracy, just give me a good movie. But this wound is still so fresh; itís so new, that accuracy in Greengrassí depiction is key. Itís easy to make a movie about WWII or the Holocaust or Pearl Harbor 50 years after the fact. Time heals all wounds. This wound hasnít yet healed, and Greengrass is diving headfirst into a minefield by making a movie about what for most of us is the most traumatic event in the United States of Americaís recent history.
Greengrass may be trying to pay tribute to the brave sacrifice of these heroes; he may simply be trying to help us remember. But itís so soon, that no one has forgotten. We donít need a reminder. Maybe the movie will be great, maybe itíll be tasteful, maybe itíll be a fitting tribute. Great. But does anyone want to see it? With the events set in motion by that day still unresolved, America may not be ready to relive any part of 9/11. Call me a coward, but I know Iím not.
Length: 90 min
MPAA Rating: [ TBA ]
Distributor: Universal Pictures Distribution
Release Date: April 28, 2006
Starring: Khalid Abdalla, Opal Alladin (Ceecee Lyles), Louis Alsamari, David Alan Basche (Todd Beamer), Richard Bekins, Starla Benford (Wanda Anita Green)
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lloyd Levin
Written by: Paul Greengrass
if you're excited for United 93