United 93 (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">United 93</strong> (2006)

(In theaters, May 2006) And so there it is: The first widely-released motion picture explicitly about September 11, 2001. And a curious piece it is, consciously eschewing glossy movie-making in favour of a quasi-documentary approach that cranks up the intensity to a level that will be unbearable to some. As it stands United 93 is a bit of a schizoid film, starting in techno-thriller territory along with the air traffic controllers, to end as a claustrophobic thriller aboard flight 93. But regardless of the split, United 93 works when it should: Director Paul Greengrass’ shaky camera, so annoying in The Bourne Supremacy, works exceedingly well here as he captures an “over the shoulder” approach that skirts a fine line between exploitation and glorification. His script similarly presents the event in a matter-of-fact, quasi-documentary approach, only deviating from knowable facts in the final minute. (In an attempt to provide catharsis for its audience, United 93 has the passengers break into the cockpit, whereas black box recordings suggest this never happened.) But as a piece of cinema, its artistic worth almost becomes irrelevant to its place in history as “the first of those films.” For non-Americans, it mark a welcome step toward the “acceptance” stage of America’s national grief after a rather long “anger” stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *