I saw United 93 this afternoon. The film is beautifully scripted, faithful to the facts that we know, and believable with regard to the facts that we must assume to know. It is, simply put, a deeply moving film. It should receive many critical awards if unbiased people give the movie the recognition it deserves. One gets a feeling, in seeing it, that is deeply spiritual, if I may be allowed to use that term in its broadest sense.
Parts of the story are known to all of us, at least those of us who read and watched the news over the last five years. Putting it all together in 110 minutes on film, and providing a compelling story line, make these particular events of 9/11 very, very human.
Small children should not see it. It is rated R for intensity and violence, which are both at the center of the story.
The practice of Islam, by the terrorists, is sensitively shown but faithful to what we know about how terrorists use and interpret their religion. The film opens with the terrorists reading the Koran and praying Muslim prayers. Though everyone knows where the story will end, in the death of everyone aboard the flight, the viewer is transfixed from the moment the movie opens. The special effects, musical score and use of hand held cameras are all superb.
The last thirty minutes are so deeply moving that I confess I wept several times. As you view people calling their loved ones on phones to say "good-bye" you can’t help but be taken into the human tragedy in an amazing way. I know family members of several who perished on 9/11. Personally, I will never forget that day. Sadly, most Americans seem to have forgotten it already, being consumed with "suffering" over high gas prices at the moment. (Europeans have paid higher prices than Americans for decades!)
I do not mean to suggest that rising gas prices do not hurt the poor, for they do. And I do not mean to say we do not need to recraft our energy policy as a nation. I do mean to say, loud and clear, that there are things much worse than higher gas prices. I found myself wondering what the political left will say about United 93? Will they "sit this one out" and thus say very little, fearing they might lend support to the president? This movie is not about partisan politics in any way but my honest guess is that the left will not be drawn to this film and its story since they have such a tragically flawed view of human nature.
United 93 is certainly not about the Bush policy regarding Iraq, pro or con. Afterall, on 9/11 we were united as a nation, or so we thought. Maybe a general discussion of this movie might help unite us again, at least regarding the central historical facts that transpired on that day of infamy. I have my doubts but one can at least hope we might engage our history more meaningfully because of millions seeing this awesome film.
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