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On September 11, 2001, two American Airlines and two United Airlines domestic U.S. flights are hijacked by terrorists. After the collision of two planes against the World Trade Center and one against the Pentagon, the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 decide to struggle against the four terrorists to take back the control of the airplane. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
To make the movie as authentic as possible, director Paul Greengrass cast a number of real-life participants in the events of September 11, 2001 to play themselves. The principal "real-life role" in the movie is Ben Sliney, the FAA's National Operations Manager, who made the decision on 9/11 to shut down all air traffic operations in the United States. Sliney had just been promoted to the National Operations Manager position, and September 11, 2001 was his first day on the job. (This explains why he receives applause from the FAA flight monitors when he walks into the control center in Herndon, VA, at the beginning of the movie.) Several officials who were with Sliney in the FAA control room on 9/11 play themselves (including Tobin Miller, Rich Sullivan, and Tony Smith). In the scenes at Newark Airport, several air traffic controllers who were in the Newark control tower on 9/11, and who witnessed the air attacks on the World Trade Center, play themselves. In the scenes at the air traffic monitoring centers in Boston, New York, and Cleveland, the air traffic monitors are all played by real-life air traffic controllers, including several who were at these locations on 9/11, and who monitored the hijacked flights. In the scenes at the Northeast Air Defense Command Center (NEADS) in Rome, NY, most of the military personnel are played by real-life military air traffic controllers, including several people (notably Major James Fox) who were at NEADS on 9/11. Also, on United Flight 93, the actors playing the pilots in the movie are real-life airline pilots, and the stewardesses are played by real airline stewardesses, some of whom actually work for United Airlines. See more »
During the flight, the terrorist with the bomb strapped to his waist, his shirt appears unbuttoned and then buttoned again within the same scene. See more »
I saw this at a special screening. I have not stopped thinking about it since. A emotional and powerful film that I will remember forever. I can't fault anyone who doesn't want to see this film. But please put to rest any fears that this film was made purely to turn a profit and serves no purpose.
For all those who were afraid that this film would be exploitive, propaganda filled Hollywood schlock, I'm sorry to say that could not be farther from the truth.
Though for the most part I'm still at a loss for words I'll do my best to give you a short and sweet overview.
Paul Greengrass has done the seemingly impossible by making a Hollywood film about this subject everyone is afraid to touch, but made it in such a way that it's hard to find fault, despite everyone's initial misgivings. No 'rah rah' patriotism. No veiled political stances. No cartoonish villains. No making the enemy sympathetic. Just a brilliantly executed look at what did happen and what 'might' have happened on that fateful day.
What makes it more effective is that all throughout you don't recognize any of the actors. They may as well be "real people". You're never thinking to yourself, 'oh that's Nicolas Cage', conscious of the fact that it's acting. And come to find out, many of the air traffic controllers and military personnel are playing themselves! This makes it all the more real and draws you in and takes you back to that day.
And when the passengers decide to fight back? There's no swelling of violins or slow motion shots. They don't have a rallying cry or 'lets do it for Uncle Sam' type speech to motivate everyone. No, these passengers were reacting spontaneously to the situation as it played out and were acting on their survival instinct. You can't help but think how you would react in that situation and makes it all the more compelling and powerful.
I won't say this film is for everyone. It IS hard to watch at times. But I'm so glad I did see it. Very cathartic in a way. And trust me, this film couldn't have been done in a more professional, classy way. This feels genuine; of course they are going to 'profit' off it, but you get the sense that the filmmakers and everyone involved poured their hearts into this project and did this to tell a story. A more dignified and heroic story I don't think I've ever seen.
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