Saturday, April 29, 2006

Watching "United 93"

I went to see the movie United 93 today, and I found the film so realistic that I will now 'remember' the events in the airplane as they were depicted.  I can't tell anyone else how it will affect them - but I will say that I think the movie is very important for all Americans to see, and that it affected me less than I was afraid it would.  I certainly can understand that many people don't wish to have this experience, or at least not in a theater. 
Not saying it was easy to watch - as sometimes it was not.  I watched the events unfold in the various air control rooms, in Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and on flight 93 itself, and sometimes found myself close to hyperventilating with the tension and remembered anguish. One poor man behind us was obviously having a hard time controlling himself, muttering phrases like "Let's Roll" just before it was spoken on screen.  As the movie ended, he shouted "M--- is a Pig" and fled the theater. 
I give the movie makers full credit - there was very little 'Hollywood' feel to the film ... every bit was stark and believable.  As I watched the credits roll, I could see why.  Several people, like Ben Sliney (who ran the FAA Command Center, and ultimately gave the order to ground all air traffic) portrayed themselves.  (Cast list here)  As hard as it might be to watch this movie for some people, I am amazed that these folks could relive the day and 'act' so naturally - a credit to them, and to director Paul Greengrass. 
For me, it's the memories that are important, and my main reason for wanting to see the movie right away.  I wanted to face the shock and disbelief again, to remember how my friend cried at the thought of her sister in NYC and having no way to reach her, and how we held her close so that she knew she wasn't alone.  I knew nothing then of who the enemy was, only that we had been attacked, and something huge had changed. 
I also wanted to see for myself how the movie handled the memory of the people on flight 93.  On that score, I'm pleased.  The passengers and crew are real people, with real fear and uncertainty.  Some want to hold back action, others realize they have to do something.  It's not headliner to the rescue - it's real people deciding that in the end, they'd rather die trying than die without trying.  I hope I never get tested in this way - but I hope if I am, that I do as well.
This is not a happy movie, but it's an important one.  The message is powerful, and we need to send one of our own to Hollywood --- Keep making movies about real heroes!  If we go out in droves to see this movie - they will get the right message.
Other views ...
Smash thinks every adult in America should see the movie.  (I agree)
Varifrank plans to buy a ticket, whether he goes in to watch or not. 
AProudVeteran at The Daily Brief:
It reminded me of that horrible day, and the wonder I felt when I first heard about Flight 93’s bravery. It’s good to be reminded of that. I’m glad I went, even though it was a hard movie to watch.
Sgt. Mom at The Daily Brief:
No, this is not a movie you could be said to enjoy… but it is a movie with something to say… which is that when Americans die, and they are given sufficient warning, a fair percentage of them will choose to go down fighting.
I won't lie to you-- United 93 is the toughest film I've ever sat through, tougher than anything. 
But it was worth it.
Mary Katherine Ham at
I know the movie has a lot of people talking about whether it's appropriate to make money off the story of 9/11, if we're being exploited emotionally, if we're ready for a movie like this.
I didn't feel like the movie was exploitative. There are no big stars saving the day single-handedly. There are many flawed, scared men and women who manage to do something very, very brave, but there also is not a lot of sentimentality.
The movie is stark, unadorned. The story speaks for itself. And, the people of Flight 93 and the rest of the victims of 9/11 deserve to have it told.
(H/T to Allahpundit)