Rated R; Directed by Paul Greengrass
“United 93” takes us back to that morning on September 11, 2001. I know many people who are saying they don’t want to see this film. It’s too soon. I was also feeling that way. My biggest fear was that the movie would be a tasteless exploitation of those dramatic events of that horrible day. “United 93” isn’t tasteless, but incredibly respectful. Yet, that makes it all the more painful.
“United 93” concentrates on the hijacked flight that crashed in Pennsylvania, but it also looks at others involved in the confusion that day – the air traffic controllers at various airports and the officers at NORAD. The movie slowly builds to those painful scenes of the World Trade Center towers burning. We know it’s going to happen and we watch as the air traffic controllers fight their disbelief that a plane is hijacked. When the first tower is hit, the confusion is overwhelming. The military folks at NORAD and the air traffic folks are astonished. Meanwhile, flight United 93 is about to take off. If possible, the movie becomes even more tense, because we, unlike the folks that morning, know there’s more to come.
Director Paul Greengrass manages to make an effective movie. Cast with unknown actors and even with some people playing themselves, there doesn’t seem to be anything too farfetched. The scenes on the plane are mainly conjecture, but seem believable.
Is this a good movie? My emotional reaction to this film was powerful. I only wish I knew if that was due to the skill of the moviemaker or my own emotional memories of that horrid day to be forever known as 9/11.