Dave White
United 93 Review

Dave's Rating:


… deeply upsetting …

Who's in It: J.J. Johnson, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, Opal Alladin, Starla Benford

The Basics: The most horrifying day in American history gets the sober, somber, you-are-there treatment from respected director Paul Greengrass. That doesn't mean it will teach you anything new about the doomed flight. Or that you'll want to watch it.

What's the Deal? I haven't seen a movie this deeply upsetting in years. And I can watch just about anything. Here's the thing: It's very well-made and resists exploitation at every turn. And even though a lot of it reads as speculation (there's a scene in which the passengers appear to be killing two of the terrorists), it's not wildly propagandistic. But the last 30 minutes are so gut-wrenching and unbearable — the final cockpit-eye view of the plane hurtling toward the ground is especially horrifying — that it brought me to tears. It's the best-made film I never want to see again.

What's the Point? Because it's not yet five years since Sept. 11, 2001, there's no real historical perspective to be gained from the movie. It is docudrama: real and imagined events presented without serious bias. No wisdom to be gained from it. So it can only be seen as a memorial to the victims.

De-Mythologizing: "Let's roll" is minimized rather than Hollywood-ized. For that we can all be grateful.

One Good Thing: Ten percent of the opening weekend's grosses are going to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund.


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