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After the planes hit on 9/11, Morgan Stanley security chief Rick
Rescorla put into effect plans that he had developed years before. Rick
had seen the potential for an airborne suicide attack on the twin
towers as part of evaluating the risk posed to his wards within their
building. After the attack in 1993 Rick took it personally to prepare
and avoid the chaotic scenes that came with the 93 attack. This
documentary tells the story of the man who predicted the 9/11 attacks
and saved thousands of lives and died in the process.
Although it was notable in the UK that the 4th anniversary of 9/11 came and went with comparatively little fuss, it did mean that this film got screened as one of several "different" documentaries about the attack. Before watching this film the only thing I knew about Rescorla was a small note in a paper shortly after the event that Hollywood was looking to make a film about a Cornish man who had saved lives during the attack. However I watched this documentary enthralled by the life of this professional man who had simply and heroically done his job and had saved thousands in the process. The film spends a little time looking back at his life but unsurprisingly the focus is 9/11. The second half surprised me because I thought I would be jaded by the footage of 9/11 by now, but I wasn't it was still as impacting and as unbelievable as it was the very first time I saw it. Within this the film talks to the staff from Morgan Stanley who all talk about what happened and share their memories of Rescorla's actions. The story they tell of that day is enthralling and it is consistently engaging it is a simple story of heroics and it is fascinating as such.
The talking heads are all pretty good and are edited together well to paint the picture while the narration is level and helps the film avoid becoming sentimental. Overall this is a great documentary that tells one story of thousands of 9/11. It tells Rescorla's story in a level and balanced way that is free of sentiment and a very good testament to the simple, unassuming heroics of one man and much better than I imagine any dramatised version could do it.
Rick Rescorla worked security for Morgan Stanley and recognized that
the World Trade Center was a potential target. In fact, he tried to get
more security for the parking garage and the areas underneath the
center, but was unsuccessful - until the 1993 attack. Rescorla, with a
team of people, put evacuation guidelines in place for the 2700
employees of Morgan Stanley and held frequent evacuation drills. In
2001, Morgan Stanley employees were successfully evacuated thanks to
This documentary gives us Rescorla's background - British born, a volunteer in Vietnam, where he was an effective commander, his longing to be a citizen, and all of that led him to 9/11. It's a very effective portrait of a smart man who took his job very seriously.
Certainly it wasn't a stretch that the World Trade Center, the White House, the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, etc., could all be potential terrorist targets. Unfortunately, everyone was taken by surprise when the attacks took place, similar to Pearl Harbor (which had also been pointed out as vulnerable). Hindsight is easy.
There were lots of heroes in 9/11. Rick Rescorla was one of them, and this documentary honors him.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If Rick Rescorla's war record wasn't enough. This describes how even 35 years later Rick was still doing what he does best, saving lives, leading people and being the best example for all of us to follow. An inspiration to desperate men against overwhelming odds in the Ia Drang valley during the Vietnam War. The man on the cover of the best seller "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" Has always been cool under pressure. His belief that the WTC would be a primary target of terrorists drove him to over prepare everyone that worked for Morgan Stanley. In doing so he was responsible for saving almost everyone who worked on "his" floors. Whether he was singing in a Foxhole to boost troop morale. Or singing into a bullhorn in the stairways, defying Port Authority orders to "stay put". Rick Rescorla was a hero to all that knew him and that was just the beginning. The program goes into great depth to peel back many layers of his greatness. Now there is an Opera about his life, memorials, a statue and the Department of Homeland Security (everyones favorite) has named an award in his honor. SOON, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Thank you England, this country is honored to call Rick Rescorla one of it's own.
This was a very interesting movie however, Rick Rescorla, was not the man who predicted 9/11. That prediction was made by Ray Hansen back in 1988 and later published in 1993 in his novel Reunion, ISBN: 0595093019 and explored it further in his other novels. It is possible that Rick Rescorla read Hansen's novel and is now given credit for Hansen's prediction. However, Rick Rescorla, can be given credit for planning the evacuation and saving countless lives and is a true hero of the people. Everyone who survived owes him a great debt. Maybe someday Ray Hansen will be given credit for being the first to predict an attack on a US skyscraper by terrorists.
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