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Regardless of whether it was "too early" in 2006 to dramatize the events of September 11th, 2001,World Trade Centersucceeds as a tribute to the courage and sacrifice of those who served at "ground zero" in the wake of terrorist attacks on the WTC's twin towers in New York City. Removed from the politics of war and terrorism (yet still, like all films, inherently political in expressing its point of view), Oliver Stone's potent drama focuses on the nightmarish ordeal, and subsequent rescue, of Port Authority policemen John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Peña), who were buried deeply within the rubble of the WTC after the twin towers collapsed. Granted, it's only the film's historical context that distinguishes it from any other dramatic rescue story, but in focusing on the goodness of humanity in response to the evil of terrorists who remain unnamed and off-screen, Stone and first-time screenwriter Andrea Berloff create an emotional context as powerful as anything Stone has directed sincePlatoon. Even as he resorts to some questionable tactics typically lacking in subtlety, Stone refrains from much of the blunt-force filmmaking that has made him a critical punching bag, rising to this challenging occasion with a heartfelt and deeply American portrait of unity personal, familial, and national. Flaws and all,World Trade Centerserves an honorable purpose, reminding us all that for those fleeting days in September 2001, America showed its best face to a sympathetic world. --Jeff Shannon
Unforgettable Day. Unforgettable Story. Wow. It's almost hard to put into words to describe this movie. I can say that have kleenex handy because you'll need it. Never in my entire life have I cried for so long and so hard during a movie. No movie has ever affected me this way. Many of us remember that morning so vividly. September 11th, 2001. I really wasn't sure if I wanted to see the film. I remember watching the TV, glued to it, for answers to the questions that I never will have answered as to how something so horrible could happen. This film doesn't attempt to try to answer that question, instead it looks at the spirit of people and how we can come together to help others. I am so glad I decided to see this! It is a powerful work of film that tells the story without sensationalizing the event and the anger and hatred for the attackers following the attacks. It's a film of last words and feelings we tend to develop after years in a relationship. There are tears of joy, laughs, and tears of sorrow interlaced throughout this film with strong acting from a huge cast. I highly recommend this film although it may certainly be tough for those who lost loved ones in the buildings.
What 9/11 was like up close and personal for two rescuers who survived While I fully recognize Oliver Stone's great talents in making films, I avoid his films because I cannot forgive him for "JFK" and its countless lies that have confused millions about the Kennedy assassination. However, when my daughter rented this film I thought I would take a look and see what he did with it. It is magnificent.
This is the story of the two officers who were pulled from under the rubble of the Trade Center the day after the buildings fell on them as they were heading to rescue work through the concourse. John McLoughlin (Nicholas Cage) was the officer in charge of the team and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena) was the rookie. They, with several others, were pulled off their normal duty and sent to the WTC to help get people out of the buildings. McLoughlin had a great deal of experience with the buildings because he had worked there before. Jimeno volunteered to go with him because, as the new guy, he figured he wanted to stay with the guy with the most experience. The scene as they head into the tower is quite powerful and shows us how dangerous and heroic it was to simply walk or run towards the building.
They had just gathered more equipment and were heading towards rescuing some people stuck in the elevators when WTC 2 fell. They didn't know the second tower had even been hit, but they happened to be in a good place and McLoughlin had the presence of mind to tell his team to run towards a stronger part of the building.
I have to admit that I had when I heard two officers had been pulled out of the rubble of the concourse, I had envisioned them being largely OK and simply trapped. No. They were pancaked in the rubble. In the commentary (which I strongly urge you to listen to), Jimeno and the rescuers say it was ten times more constricted than shown in the movie with smoke and dust that made it even more claustrophobic. However, if they had tried to depict it as it was, there could be no movie, because you couldn't see anything. Still, the sets help us understand the horrible conditions these men were in.
While the story of these men is well known, I don't want to go over the whole story, because no matter what you think you know, it is unlikely that you know the story completely enough to no be shocked at what they went through. There was a third officer who survived the initial collapse and who did his level best to try and get Jimeno out, but no one could do it without special power equipment.
The depiction of what their families went through is also portrayed beautifully. We get to see up close what it was like for those who waited without knowing, the misinformation that got back to them, and what it was like when they first got the full scope of the truth.
Another interesting character is Dave Karnes, who felt called to go down to ground zero to look for survivors. In the commentary, Jimeno points out that he and no one knew that Karnes was African American until after the film was made and that he felt badly about it. Even so, Michael Shannon portrays him very well.
There is a lot to this story that you will want to know. And it is very moving.
I hope Stone doesn't do the paranoid conspiracist version of 9/11 I heard is preparing to make, but at least that movie would be more in character for him. This film is beautifully done and shows his artistic powers without his very odd view of the world.
Jimeno says that the film does make a few changes to reality because they were making a PG 13 film and that Stone had to compress 24 hours into 2. Still, others have complained that this or that rescuer or act was not depicted in the film. Truly, not everyone who should be recognized could be recognized in this or any film. Still, we are grateful to every one of them. As you watch with the commentary, Jimeno and the other rescuers point out the real people (including Jimeno and McLaughlin) who were given cameos in the movie. A very nice touch.
Strongly recommended.Not That Good The story line is a good one if you are into the 9/11 thing. But the movie just plain stunk.