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World Trade Center (2006)

September 11, 2009

7/10 Timely Reminders

A pretty risky movie to make five years after 9/11, but a good movie all the same.

World Trade Center is the true story of two Port Authority police officers in New York City who were sent in to the twin towers after the planes hit, were trapped in the ensuing rubble when the towers fell, and lived to tell about it.

The movie’s directed by Oliver Stone, which is something that could go either way considering the source material. But for a director who’s crazy for making movies about conspiracy theories in American history, he does well to steer clear of that here. This isn’t a story about what really happened behind the scenes in the Bush administration or who was really responsible for the attacks, it’s about the human will to survive and persevere in the wake of overwhelming despair and tragedy.

But even if the story wasn’t anything special, you walk into a movie called World Trade Center, it’s guaranteed to yank some heartstrings.

The most impressive part of this movie outside of the story itself is they way Stone utterly immerses his audience into the beyond dire circumstances of two said policemen. A good deal of the movie is filmed in complete darkness, with the screams of victims and survivors serving as the only indication of what’s happening on a darkened screen, and all of which are drowned out drowned by the deafening fall of the towers overhead. It makes you claustrophobic and turns you dumbfounded as to how these two individuals managed to survive long enough to be rescued at all.

Nicolas Cage gives one of his better performances here as the lead cop who gets trapped under the rubble, but then again, I think it would be pretty hard for him to blow this one by overacting considering that this movie is about so much more than just the stories of these two policemen. He gets the cop’s story across, no more, no less, and that’s probably the most appropriate way to go about it.

The other big aspect of the movie deals with the families of the two cops who are all struggling to come to terms with the deaths of their loved ones, still clinging to the hope that they made it out alive. Chances are that anyone who was old enough to really remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the towers being hit can relate to this sentiment all too well in some way. It’s also something that a lot people can relate to across the board, even outside of 9/11.

Needless to say, this was a difficult and powerful movie to watch when it first came out and I’m sure the sentiment hasn’t wavered since. It’s worth seeing, but you really need to be in the right mood and you need to see it with the right people. Even so, World Trade Center is a very well-handled movie about an extremely sensitive subject. It doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in regards to Americans finding the will to move on that the last eight years of American history hasn’t already shown, nor will anyone ever need to watch a movie to remind them of the unforgettable immensity of 9/11, but as a story of survival in the face of one of America’s darkest moments, it achieves its aims.

I definitely haven’t forgotten and I know that no one else has either. Hard to believe that it was eight years ago; really doesn’t seem that long.

One Comment leave one →
  1. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    September 14, 2009 12:01 pm

    I’m not sure what I was expecting this movie to be, but “World Trade Center” surprised me with its understatedness — subtle characters (Maggie Gyllenhaal was fantastic) and tasteful direction.

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