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9/11: Ground Zero Underworld (2007)

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Russell Boulter ...
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Documentary

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September 2007 (UK)  »

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Touching and interesting look at the rescue and recovery operation in the weeks after 11th September
28 October 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Almost immediately after the twin towers of the World Trade Centre collapsed after the suicide attack of 11th September 2001, the rescue mission began. Experts, rescue services and volunteers worked together to go under the debris on the surface, convinced that they would find many survivors in the voids that will exist underground. Within a short time the rescue mission became one of recovery of remains to try and identify all those killed in the attacks.

Every year, the first week of September sees a rush of documentaries about the attacks of 11th September 2001 and the sixth anniversary was no different even if the media made a lot less of a fuss about it than they had done in previous years – this time there was more of a scattering of programmes rather than an onslaught. This documentary caught my eye because I wasn't really looking to continually relive the attacks again and again in the same way, but was still interested in the impact they had. The film's selling point is the footage from under the towers and this is engaging simply because it does feel like a totally different world. Of course the lack of lighting and totally confined places means this isn't visually that exciting but it is just weird to see things totally destroyed in one place and then, a few meters away, shops that are intact, all under the ground.

The film builds on this with a good selection of contributors who were directly involved in the search or had lost someone who was being searched for. There are thousands of stories around this event so it is good that the film picks only a few and makes them emotional and interesting. I personally find any use of music to create emotion in these films to be a clumsy and unnecessary tool and so it was here, I thought that the people and the events did enough to engage and move.

It is another documentary that picks over the pain and loss of the day but the focus on the rescue/recovery operation makes it more interesting that the many others that are wheeled out annually. Doesn't really fold into the bigger picture socially or politically but for what it is it is interesting, touching and moving.


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