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United 93 (Widescreen Edition) (2006)

A movie directed by Paul Greengrass

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Paul Greengrass Creates the Impossible: Capturing the Horror of 9/11

  • Jan 30, 2007
Though it has been over five years since the devastation of 9/11 the memory lives on, a day no one will ever forget - nor should we. This viewer waited until UNITED 93 was released on DVD to view it, thinking that watching the film in the security of the home might make it less threatening. But what Paul Greengrass has created in reconstructing those few hours in 2001 that changed the psyche of the world forever is an achievement in courage, in understatement, and in respect - as fine a memorial as any that has been planned.

In using not easily recognizable but very fine actors in all of the roles, Greengrass allows his script to unfold gradually in the relaxed atmosphere of the usual air flight plans and minor delays, conversations heard by all of us as we await a take off of a plane. Concurrently he shows the four men, whose mission is to destroy 'the oppressors', prepare, pray, dress, and board. Then he moves into the planning rooms of air control, lets us feel the insidious progression of the hijacked planes, shows us the military response and paralysis, places us back in United 93, and unfolds the recognition by the crew and passengers of the danger in which they have been placed. The acts of heroism seem like natural permutations of human response all the way to the final abrupt dark screen when the plane goes down.

The degree of tension Greengrass and his superlative cast and crew convey is almost intolerable: magnify that times infinity power and we have a glimpse of what it was like to be in United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The film is a remarkable achievement and is destined to become a hallmark for artistic representation of historic events. Highly Recommended on every level. Grady Harp, January 07

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More United 93 (2006) reviews
review by . January 31, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
In 2006 two major motion pictures about September 11, 2001 were released. One, WORLD TRADE CENTER, was a film from Oliver Stone about two first responders who were saved from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Though WORLD TRADE CENTER is a good and solid film, it does not reach the achievement that Paul Greengrass was able to do with UNITED 93.    Filmed in a style that seems to be a dreamy cinema verite (though every moment on film was carefully constructed), UNITED 93 …
review by . September 15, 2006
"United 93" is one of the most moving pictures I've ever seen. It is a near real-time account of what happened on the doomed United flight that was headed for San Francisco but ended up in a field in Pennsylvania when its passengers overpowered the cowards who intended to use it to hit our nation's capitol. It opens with the cowards preparing for their mission. We are then given the seemingly mundane but all-important events of preparing a flight for take-off. We get very brief glimpses at the lives …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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One of the most shocking events in modern American history gets a skilled and respectful treatment inUnited 93. The movie begins by following the four terrorists who hijacked the plane that never reached its target on 9/11/2001, tracking them as they enter the airport and wait for their flight, surrounded by the people who will die from their actions. From there, it cuts to and fro among air traffic controllers and the military as, gradually, it becomes clear that planes are being hijacked and crashed into buildings. As the focus turns to the captive United Flight 93, the passengers discover, due to cell phone connections with family, that they're on a suicide mission and--almost paralyzed by stress and anxiety--decide to fight back. Most movies create tension by implying whatmighthappen, but withUnited 93the audience knowsexactlywhat happened: Every person on that plane died. As a result, the movie is more relentlessly gut-wrenching than suspenseful (though the dawning realization of the air traffic controllers has an effective creeping dread). But writer/director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) manages to keep the scale of the events human; there are no glamorous heroics, only terrifying confusion and desperate, hopeless bravery. One can only hope the movie brings some peace to the families of the passengers, asUnited 93is the cinematic equivalent of a war memorial, commemorating lives lost in a moment of horrible, harrowing conflict.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Paul Greengrass
Screen Writer: Paul Greengrass
DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
Runtime: 111 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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