Review #209 of 365
Film: World Trade Center [PG-13] 125 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.75
Where Viewed: Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 8 August 2006 (Denver Film Society Members' Preview)
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Soundtrack: down load now from or order CD below
Review Dedicated to: John S. of Staten Island, NY
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Much of the press prior to the release failed to acknowledge that the film is really the true story of two, brave NYPD officers who get buried alive in the rubble of the tower collapses and the fearless marine who refused to obey directives and searched for survivors that evening in the dark amidst the constant concern that there would be additional cave-ins killing rescue workers. Most people might be prepared to dismiss this film out of hand for all sorts of perfectly good moral reasons. Who likes the idea of someone profiting off the tragedy of others? Not many people. I would urge those people to think a bit more about this before deciding. And, this goes a bit back to my poll. When is the right time to talk and think about this event in our history? Since then, things have gone a particular way in the world. People have said and written, this is a new world we live in. That day changed everything. Is the way things went due to most people's inability to think about what really happened that day? Did our silence on the matters propel our own government down a course that few can argue has positioned our nation in a worse international light than it was the day the Twin Towers fell? When our government acted swiftly and maybe out of concern that to delay would signal to us and to the world that we were victims incapable of response, did it prevent us as a nation from stopping to think about what events caused people to want to do this to us and that maybe our next steps should have been to reflect on the tragedy, the loss of lives, the huge disruption this could have on our economy and the global economy, and then the role our government should play in the future to prevent such things from happening again? Instead of a measured or thoughtful response to the events, there was an immediate groundswell leading toward the savage and primal notion of revenge.
"…an important film …[with]…remarkable performances…"
Nicholas Cage and Michael Peña delivered remarkable performances as did Maria Bello. Maggie Gyllenhaal had some trouble at times being as convincing as the others. Typically, her crass, manipulative, "I'm gorgeous, you deal with it" attitude didn't mix as well with the emotional needs of her character. It was difficult to envision her ever married to Michael Peña with his exuberance, devotion, and puppy-dog eyes. The supporting cast was equally strong especially the stand out actors who portrayed the young sons of John McLoughlin. Then, finally, there is Staff Sergeant Dave Karnes played by Michael Shannon. Reports scurrying about the Internet the week before the film was to come out indicated that the real Dave Karnes was upset that no one ever talked to him about his story. The film's producers shouted back that they most certainly did talk to him and offer him a chance to see the film prior to release. The truth may never be known. The film depicts him as stoic and perhaps over-zealous at times in his desire to save people. It is difficult to say if Mr. Shannon has done a good job of capturing his essence or not. One thing is for sure, the film makes it clear that without him, both Jimeno and McLoughlin likely wouldn't be alive today. Still, this controversy and aspect definitely detracts a bit from the overall experience of the film.
Oliver Stone has made an important film, maybe not for the reasons people might think of immediately, but because he affords everyone who sees the film the opportunity to reconsider the events once more, this time from a more enlightened point of view as we lived in its wake and have the history of the events that followed in our consciousness. Ready or not, perhaps now is the time for a collective revisit to the events we have been avoiding talking about for almost 5 years. Perhaps we need closure to be able to reach reconciliation.
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Other Movies Featuring: Nicolas Cage • Maria Bello • Michael Peña
Michael Shannon • Maggie Gyllenhaal
Other Films Directed by : Oliver Stone
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