The shadow of September 11, 2001 over Hollywood still lingers.
“It was just like a movie.” A cliché, yes, but as is often the case, that phrase became a cliché for a reason. The frequency with which those words were repeated in the weeks and months after September 11, 2001 was a striking testament to the role movies have come to play in how we process and interpret reality.
I have nothing to add to my review of Paul Greengrass’s United 93, except to say that four years later there is still a gaping wound at Ground Zero where a memorial should be. For me, this film is the closest thing we have to an adequate tribute to those we lost on September 11, 2001.
Where Paul Greengrass’s brilliant United 93 crafted a documentary-like anatomy of events without presuming to get inside people’s heads or explain actions or motivations, World Trade Center is a more conventional Hollywood film, with dramatic dialogue, characters following clearly plotted arcs, and a swelling soundtrack to reinforce the mood.
Whatever monument is eventually built at Ground Zero or anywhere else, United 93 is as fitting and worthy a memorial to the victims and heroes of September 11 as one could hope for.
It was only last week, though it seems like a lifetime ago, that I was standing on top of the Empire State Building, squinting to the south with my two older children toward the proud twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.