Wednesday, September 06, 2006

United 93

0609 United 93 film poster
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The most extraordinary, sad, brilliant film I'll see all year.

I brought a hanky, and then needed it sooner than I had expected. In the end, it wasn't the end one knew which brought me to tears. It was the ordinariness of people boarding and settling into a routine flight, and then the moment, after delays, when the plane took off, and you knew those people would never land alive.

As they found their seats, put bags in the overhead lockers, ignored the flight attendants doing their safety advisory I thought, I've been on that flight. It looks like most any flight I've ever been on.

Paul Greengrass, who wrote and directed it, his actors, his crew did an astonishing job of putting us there. The participation, as themselves, of a number of people who were a part of the day's events in control rooms shows their trust, in him and the film he was making, trust which was justified.

Roger Ebert's review describes this as masterful and heartbreaking. He's right. I wanted to see it on a big screen, in the darkness and focus of a cinema, and that was right too.

As the fifth anniversary approaches, the television documentaries are multiplying: The Falling Man, 9/11 (combining re-enactments with real footage). It's still not possible to do anything but shudder at the burning towers, the breached Pentagon, the scarred Pennsylvania field.

And wonder, without ever being able to know, how it could have been avoided, how else world affairs might have been conducted to avoid this.

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