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United 93 (Widescreen Edition) (2006)

A movie directed by Paul Greengrass

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The Real Best Picture of 2006

  • Jan 31, 2007
Rating:
+5
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 tells the story about the one plane that went down on September 11th that didn't hit its target. United 93 was supposed to have crashed either into the White House or the Capitol Building, but because of the bravery and courage displayed by the men and women on board, the plane never reached that area and crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. No one alive can say exactly for sure what happened aboard the plane that day. However, UNITED 93 does an incredible job of recreating what possibly happened.

Paul Greengrass and the filmmakers spent an incredible amount of time talking with the family members of those who died. They listened intently to the tape recordings on board the plane and messages left behind. I'm sure that hundreds of hours of research went into creating the film and it shows on film. No big name actors were cast in the film and many of the smaller roles were played by people who had actually been involved somehow with United 93 on September 11th. It is an ensemble cast of the truest kind.

I was deeply moved while watching UNITED 93. The outcome is already known before even putting the film into the DVD player. Yet, the foreknowledge takes nothing away from the experience. The people on the plane reminded me of some of my own friends and family members and even though I knew they were going to die, their actions as portrayed in the film gave me hope. UNITED 93 is a powerful piece of cinema, testifying to what ordinary people can do when faced against extraordinary circumstances. The Academy might have ignored it, but UNITED 93 is the best picture of 2006 and a fitting tribute to the men and women who died that day.

The DVD includes a commentary with Director Paul Greengrass which I found much more interesting, intriguing, and thought-provoking than many other commentaries I have listened to. There's also a short documentary entitled "United 93: The Families and the Film" that interviews family members of those killed and their reactions to the film. Finally, there is a biography page that includes a small picture and a written biography about the 40 people on board (not including the hijackers) who died because of the hijacking.

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More United 93 (2006) reviews
review by . January 30, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
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About this movie

Wiki

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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Details

Director: Paul Greengrass
Screen Writer: Paul Greengrass
DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
Runtime: 111 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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