Monday, April 24, 2006

Tribeca VI: The opening night

Considering that the Tribeca film festival was founded as a response to the horrific attacks of 9/11/01, it's perfectly understandable that the first major cinematic tribute to the heroes of that day open it. Since there are no real movie starts in the film, the red carpet gala at the Zigfield tonight is going to be somewhat subdued.

Also, I'm not that much into celebrity watching and I'm generally not invited to the parties anyway.

However, as you've undoubtably already noticed, I'm going to be at as many screenings as his humanly possible.

Here's the review for:

United 93

Written and Directed
by Paul Greengrass

People are saying that this is too early to relive the events of Sept. 11, 2001. After all, the wound is still very deep and the war that was started by the attacks is still going on, but on the other hand, we’ve already had lots and lots of takes on the attacks, including at least two TV movies and dozens of books and documentary films, including one that made over a hundred million dollars at the box office. So there’s really nothing to complain about, at least on that account.

So what are we to make of the “Tora! Tora! Tora!” of World War III?

Well, this is docudrama at it’s best. Done in real time, we see the hijackers(Louis Alsamari, Jamie Harding, Omar Berdouni and Khalid Abdalla) praying in their hotel rooms while everybody else goes on about their business. Except for SNL vet Denny Dillon and David Rasche, as passengers on the ill-fated flight, there’s no one who can actually claim to be anything close to being a movie star, and in fact auteur Paul Greengrass actually got FAA operations manager Ben Sliney and a number of other people to play themselves. Not that it helped any, but it didn’t detract either. There are so many parts here, that except for the hijacker who actually is flying the plane(Abdalla), everyone is just a face in the crowd, and considering the events of that day, that’s the way it should have been…

The best thing about the film is the tension. Like, say, “Titanic,” we know how the thing is going to end before we get in, the plane crashes in Pennsylvania, but since the film just doesn’t take place on the plane, but in the control towers in New York and New Jersey, the FAA headquarters in Virginia and the Military air lanes monitoring station in upstate New York, we get the full blown confusion and horror as the crisis gets bigger and more horrific.

This is an exceptionally fine film, and is going to be as close as we’re ever going to get when it comes to recreating the events of 9/11. There’s no politics here, just memory. It’s going to be seen eventually, and when the public is ready, it’ll be considered a classic.

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