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World Trade Center (2006)
An uneven film which is still very much worth seeing
World Trade Center is at it's best an incredible film. Featuring fantastic performances from Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena, along with some of the best scenes of the year, the formula for success is definitely present here. Unfortunately, poor pacing really stops it from achieving what it could have. World Trade Center is worth seeing. But it could have been so much more.
Nicholas Cage does an absolutely fantastic job playing Sergeant McLoughlin. He's entirely believable as a man who just wants to get home to his family. The same can be said for Michael Pena, a young cop with a young daughter and another on the way. The majority of the film takes place with these two buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center. This makes their performances all the more exceptional, as they're just laying on their backs and talking. But when these two were on the screen, I couldn't look away.
The same quality does not always carry over into the sub plots of the film. Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a fine performance, which combined with her equally impressive turns in Sherrybaby and Stranger Than Fiction make this a fantastic year for her. But the other people in her story line just don't do that good a job. I didn't really feel the sense of panic that I remember from that day, which would be magnified for the loved ones I would imagine. I got that from Maggie and from the main two, but not from the others involved. Maria Bello's story line was worse though, as Maria was just sub par here. I don't know why, she's a fantastic actress. I thought she gave quite possibly the performance of the year last year in A History of Violence. But here, she just didn't feel real to me. I just didn't find her believable. The story of the marine who went to the towers to help likewise, just didn't feel quite right, though the performance is good.
When you're watching the two main characters, this movie is phenomenal. But the rest of the time, it just feels off. I recommend watching it, but you could almost fast forward through the sub plots and miss nothing.