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Good intentions and some powerful moments but overall a disappointment
imaginarytruths10 August 2006
I honestly didn't think it was very good at all, though I respect the intentions of the filmmakers. Whatever one wants to say about Oliver Stone, he showed a commitment to faithfully telling the story of these two Port Authority cops trapped in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and their worried wives.

I liked a lot of the scenes in the beginning, the little mundane details like when Michael Pena's character is going about his everyday street beat. But the scenes at the WTC itself are really awkward, especially the cross-cutting between real footage and the actors. They just don't match, neither the film stocks nor the actors' reactions. A couple of moments with Pena standing there on the concourse were effective in creating a sense of horrific surrealism, and the moments right before the collapse were sudden and chilling...but overall it was not as powerful as I was expecting. For a film called World Trade Center, I guess I was expecting a little more context and not something focused so narrowly on these two Port Authority cops and an ex-Marine from Connecticut (as the only person outside these two cops' families whose story is told in the film, the focus on him reeks of jingoism in a GI Joe/Rambo vein).

I know it's a little unfair to compare this to United 93, but I need to in order to illustrate the point. U93 told a specific story (the experience of the passengers on the plane) and placed it within a context (what was happening with air traffic control and the military). The lessons that are demonstrated in the actions of the passengers are enhanced by contrasting them with the helplessness of the "professionals" responsible for their safety. It's telling a dramatically powerful story, conveying a theme , AND providing a larger historical context of what happened that day. Oliver Stone, by comparison, has failed to effectively tie the experiences of these two trapped cops with the larger events of the day, and his film suffers as a result. And in the end the film largely shortchanges the stories of the 2749 families who didn't get good news that day.

OK, so the film focuses on a narrow story of these two trapped cops and their families (and the gung ho marine, but he has limited screen time). Was their story well told? The scenes amidst the wreckage were compelling, but the back-and-forth with their wives became annoyingly schmaltzy. Yes, Maggie Gyllenhaal gave a strong performance as the pregnant wife and a lot of the moments with her family (esp the brief scene with the Colombian mother-in-law praying) were emotionally poignant, but so much of the family stuff was lame melodrama. And to be honest, even Maggie's performance was a little generic. I understand that these characters are all closely based on real life, but it still felt very Lifetime movie of the week. As for Maria Bello in the role of the other wife, I loved her in A History of Violence, but she was bland in this. The kid actors playing her children were mostly awful, and the film dragged whenever their story was on the screen. The resolution is mostly handled well, I really like what Oliver Stone is trying to convey about these small gestures of heroic goodness in the face of such desolation. But the power of these scenes is undermined by his tendency to pour on the sappiness while largely ignoring the greater horror of the day. It feels like a soap opera set against the greatest tragedy of our age, and that just doesn't work for me.

In short...not intense enough, not enough context, too much melodrama, not enough of a sense of reverence for what happened, highly impressive job of recreating the debris field, a charismatic performance from Maggie, overall a mediocre film.
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National tragedy as formula storytelling
anhedonia2 September 2006
Something surprising happened while watching Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" - I realized how much more I appreciated Paul Greengrass' "United 93." Greengrass' film was lean, stripped of any backstory for any of the characters. Very simply, it told what happened that horrible day on the plane - though he used some license - and didn't wallow in needless sentimentality.

Stone, on the other hand and rather surprisingly, seems to have gone out of his way to make something that would be so palatable and inoffensive that it would turn out rather bland, above anything else.

The 45 minutes of "World Trade Center" are terrific. After offering us quick glimpses into the lives of Port Authority cops John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), Andrea Berloff's script gets us right into the attacks on the Twin Towers.

The crumbling of the towers, which still is incredibly difficult to watch, let alone fathom, is handled with taste, but also is awfully gripping. We get a real sense of the terror and panic and then Stone gets the claustrophobic atmosphere right. With close-ups of Pena and Cage amidst the ruins, he gets us so close, we can almost taste the rubble and concrete dust.

But that's the last time we really see or feel any sense of genuine, gripping storytelling in this film. I realize criticizing a film about 9/11, especially one that displays its American stars and stripes so blatantly, is tantamount to treason these days. After all, as this administration and its minions love to point out, if you disagree with them, you're not only unpatriotic, but also an appeaser of the villains. It's poppycock, of course. Dissent is undoubtedly American, but these chaps so love draping themselves in the flag that jingoism overwhelms all reason. Why bother with rational thought when you can scare people?

What struck me while watching the film is realizing how much goodwill was channeled toward the United States after the attacks and what's ultimately sad is how this president took all that goodwill and squandered it by launching an utterly pointless war in Iraq. We could have done so much good in the world, instead of now being one of the most hated nations in the world. And Bush has now turned 9/11 into a political slogan for political (and personal) gain.

The problem with Stone's film isn't so much the story, but how Berloff chose to tell it. According to Berloff, cops, rescue workers, even family members tend to enjoy speaking in exposition. There are moments that surely someone of Stone's calibre should have realized needed to be rewritten because the dialogue seems mediocre at best.

Where the film suffers is when the story cuts between the two trapped men and their families, especially their wives. Maria Bello as Donna McLoughlin and the always wonderful Maggie Gyllenhaal as Allison Jimeno never get much to do with their sorely underwritten roles. It's a true testament to Gyllenhaal's talent that she turns a rather sour role into a passionate, moving performance. Poor Bello, on the other hand, isn't that fortunate. She's relegated to spending more time than she should weeping.

The trouble with these scenes is not that Berloff tries to wring some emotion out of them, but that they come off as unabashedly sentimental. And the emotions are entirely unearned.

Pena proves, just as he did in "Crash" (2005), that he's able to be something special on screen. His character is far more engaging than Cage's; Pena's emotions come off without any artifice.

I can't help but feel that "World Trade Center" could have been the gut-wrenching experience Stone intended it to be had he and Berloff approached the story much in the way Greengrass did "United 93." Stone's movie is far from lean. It's padded with needless sentimentality and moments that just try so hard to earn some emotion, any emotion, that they come off as utterly false. And that's unfair to the people whose story is being chronicled here.

Watching Cage and Pena trapped should be gripping stuff. But even their dialogue is reduced to exposition. And when Berloff finally leaves the two men and their families, we get Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon), a man so moved by what he saw that he came down to the Twin Towers and proved to be McLoughlin and Jimeno's miracle. We all know Karnes is a real person, but I very much doubt that he speaks in bumper stickers. But that's exactly what Berloff has him do.

The first 45 minutes of the movie showed what Stone truly is capable of doing. The rest is rather tepid. And unbelievably forced. Who knew that Oliver Stone, of all people, would resort to formulaic storytelling. Perhaps he's been so stung by conspiracy accusations and was so keen on appeasing his critics and forgetting the execrable "Alexander" (2004) that he opted to make the kind of movie Ron Howard would make. That's not a compliment.
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A life-affirming movie about courage
jmoney-226 July 2006
It's a little known story from a day we know all too well. "World Trade Center" tells the gripping true story of two of the last men pulled out of the rubble of Ground Zero alive.

Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena play Port Authority Police officers. In the film's heart- pounding opening minutes, we watch the attack unfold through the eyes of these first responders. As the routine morning becomes anything but routine, the officers glimpse news reports (we are thankfully spared any images of the plane striking the towers) and get bits of information from cellphone calls to family members as they race downtown. But what's most striking is how little the men know about what's really happening. As the officers prepare to the climb the North Tower, they are unaware the South Tower has even been hit. Communications gear is failing, and there is confusion all around.

Through impeccably detailed sets and flawless special effects, director Oliver Stone and his film-making team recreate these hectic moments in all-too-realistic detail. You're right there, on the street, looking up and watching the chaos unfold in 35mm and THX surround sound. If you didn't know any better, you'd think Stone had a crew shooting in Lower Manhattan that day. You have to struggle to remind yourself everything you're seeing was recreated on a sound stage on inside a computer.

Screenwriter Andrea Berloff further enhances the realism with believable dialog. She not only effectively captures the "cop talk" (half the time, there's so much lingo being bantered back and forth, you don't understand what the heck the characters are saying -- as it should be), she also delivers a truth and honesty to the conversations and interactions. The words never feel contrived.

The quality cast does the script justice. It's remarkable how well Cage, a major movie star, disappears behind the mustache and hunched shoulders of Sgt. John McLoughlin. Pena (last seen as the locksmith in "Crash") is instantly likable as Ofc. Jimeno. Their performances are even more noteworthy considering they spend the majority of the movie flat on their backs. They are also well supported by Maria Bello and Magie Gyllenhaal as their respective wives, who spend much of the film enduring an agonizing wait to learn the fate of their husbands.

Stone's storytelling is also more methodical and straightforward than it's been in recent years. He mercifully ditches the frenetic editing style he's employed in films like Natural Born Killers and Any Given Sunday.

***Not Political***

When one hears that Oliver Stone, director of such politically charged films as JFK and Born on the Fourth Of July, is making a movie about 9/11, your first tendency is to say, "uh oh." But this may be the least political movie Stone has ever made, one both red states and blue states can agree on. It's not about the roots of terror, or who's to blame for what. It's not about villains. It's about heroes. Though set during one of America's darkest hours, it tells a life-affirming story of courage, love and the strength people can summon inside. The movie reminds us how we all felt that day, how we all came together. Some say it is too soon for a movie like this. But as our nation sits so sharply divided, it's not a minute too soon to remember the unity of purpose we all had on 9/11 and ponder whether we can ever get it back.
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As emotionally disturbing it was to watch, it ended up being an incredible surprise of a great film
Smells_Like_Cheese20 September 2006
When I first heard of this movie being made, I had so many debates about this film, I almost hated Oliver Stone, after all, we just had only the 5 year anniversary of 9/11. I thought he was going to make some action movie of a horrifying and nightmarish event that is still fresh in most of our memories. So, I refused to see this film, but a girl at my work told me that it wasn't like what we both expected at all and that it was a great film. So, my friend and I decided to see it, I have to say that it was beautifully done and showed great respect for that horrible day.

Gratefully and I must thank Oliver Stone, he didn't reenact or computerize the planes crashing into the towers, this movie just focused mainly on the policemen and firemen who gave their lives that day and to two strong and brave policemen who ended up in the most brutal and hellish nightmare, being trapped and buried alive under tons and tons of what was a 110 story building. Their struggle was so brutal to watch, but it kept your hopes and strength alive. 95% of the world only witnessed what happened on the outside, finally, this movie showed us what it was like to be in New York and what the firemen and policemen went through, along with their families.

I have to say that it was so mentally disturbing though to see the towers in the beginning of the film, I actually started sobbing, because it's still to this day unbelievable that they're just not there. But still, it was pictured perfectly and beautifully done, I loved that they showed how much of a normal day it was for all of us before the plane hit the first tower.

It's a beautifully acted and hopeful film that will make you remember that that day not only showed the worst evil in people, but it brought out some of the best and heroic acts anyone has ever witnessed. RIP to those 2800 people who lost their lives that day, you will never be forgotten. And on a special note, thank you to the firemen and policemen who fought, survived, and died on that tragic day, you may have done your job, but it was the most heroic thing anyone could have done, they saved more lives than we realized. Let's not forget.

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Stone Salutes
ccrivelli200510 September 2006
Oliver Stone salutes the ordinary heroes of this extraordinary circumstances. He puts himself way behind their stories, so far behind in fact that he is almost imperceptible. In Italy, the academics, snobs and other fauna dismissed it as rhetoric and banal. I have the words of the laid back "opinionist" Barbara Pallombelli accusing Stone of "inventing" How silly really. The ignorance between the cultures seems insurmountable sometimes. The story was told by the two men under the rubble and their families. They were working people, not professional "opinionists". They will hum the theme from Startsky and Hutch to keep themselves alive. I wonder what pseudo intellectual would have done.The film is a gripping depiction centered mostly on two men and their families. The event caused a catastrophe that is still growing, based mostly in personal interest and massive inter cultural ignorance. The film is not about that. The film is about the tiniest enormity of the domestic drama. I wept and longed for a private happy ending. The rest, well the rest is still part of our daily existence. Most of the detractors accuse World Trade Center of not being an Oliver Stone film, if he had done a classic Oliver Stone film he would have been accused of that. Stone will be controversial even for standing still. My hat to you Mr Stone, please keep going your own way.
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Drawn out
briancham199421 August 2020
This film is a mostly compelling story of the 9/11 attacks but the problem is that it's too drawn out. There is a lot of the time when nothing much is really happening. It tries to focus on the lives of particular individuals who are portrayed as heroes but this also means that there is not much material to work with.
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Straightforward Approach Works for Stone
LAKERS3411 August 2006
There will of course inevitably be films made about 9-11 and they will no doubt take many different approaches in telling their stories. This film, the second major effort at depicting the 9-11 attacks, approaches the story head-on, literally from Ground Zero, from the viewpoint of some of those most directly involved in the incident: Rescue Workers. The fact that this film was directed by Oliver Stone was/is a surprise. The film is benign in the sense that it does not postulate about what happened that day and why, which is not your typical Stone movie. Instead, it takes its time telling an intimate story about a group of Rescue Workers caught up in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and their battle to survive/escape an unimaginable hell.

The film works because Stone takes the time to flush out his characters; we genuinely care about these people and feel their emotions as things turned from bad to worse that day. Cage, Bello, Pena, play their roles effectively, making us aware that 9-11 affected "ordinary people" and caused them to perform in an extraordinary way.

All in all, an excellent film. While it is big-budgeted and full of big names, it simply tells one of MANY stories to be told on that day effectively and faithfully. As with United 93, I would recommend bringing Kleenex.
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20 years later this film is a testament to courage
awvknj1 June 2022
Warning: Spoilers
A very moving reenactment that tells the story of courage and loss poignantly and with sensitivity. Viola Davis has a scene toward the end as a grieving woman at the hospital that is so well done. A must see film to remember and honor what was lost that day, as well as the courage of both those who perished as well as those who survived.
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A surprisingly good film
kyle-florence13 August 2006
I went into this film without expectations. I saw Flight 93 and enjoyed it and I am very interested in all events surrounding September 11th, so this film appealed to me. Now, I must say that I am not an Oliver Stone fan, however, upon hearing this movie was nothing like an Oliver Stone film I decided to check it out.

The storyline for the film, as stated, was based on the stories of a few Port Authority police who survived the collapse of the building while being trapped for hours in the rubble. At the beginning we are introduced to each of the characters and their families. It's enough to get us involved with each of them but leaves enough room to elaborate as the film unfolds. The film moves rather nicely without going too fast or slow. The vast amount of the film takes place after the towers collapse while the men are trapped in the rubble. The story is told through the trapped police officers current situation as well as what their families are going through at the same time.

I felt this story to be very natural and not Hollywood-ized, something I had been worried would happen. All the events seemed plausible, they didn't throw anything in for added drama. All of the characters were completely believable and you ended up loving all of them by the end. I will caution you though, there are some intense scenes in this movie so if you are unable to deal with some of the events from that day you may not want to see the film.

The cinematography and sound really aided this film. All of the filming was crisp and clean, the special effects were great and you could hardly tell this had been filmed after the towers were gone (the shots containing the towers that is). There were some great scenes from life in new york; shots of the skyline and the subway as well as some breathtaking aerials. The sound was spot on, you could feel the building collapse as the scenes unfolded on the screen. It was a great job all around.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was, it lived up to Flight 93, although it has an entirely different feel to it. This film is not ground-breaking work, but it wasn't meant to be. It was meant to tell the story of a few brave men and their families and their experiences during September 11th, and it accomplished this very well.
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Like watching paint dry
ronnay_barkay3 February 2007
Im just after pulling myself away from the TV and that awful movie, World Trade Center, to write this review.

Now. This is like watching a snuff movie. It depicts the events that happened on September 11th,2001 and we all remember so vividly because it was only a few years ago.

Most of the time you're watching Nicholas Cage screaming in pain. and when you're not watching that you're watching another guy scream in pain.

Shall I go on? It's badly edited, although well made, but who cares. It's not entertaining or thought-provoking or funny. It doesn't spark any debate. World Trade Center is just a very bland, uninspiring piece of film making.
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Total and big disappointment! Non-American viewers, beware!
vlahov25 November 2006
First, I vote 1 for this dreadful piece of celluloid just because IMDb hadn't provided negative votes yet. Absolutely big disappointment coming from one of the finest directors of all time - Oliver Stone. Having in mind that he directed such masterpieces as JFK and Naturally born killers, I have no excuse for him making such blatant propaganda movie except for the paycheck. Every single cliché you name it, you have it here. Patriotism is flowing from every possible hole, the opposite of smart Bush showing like a cockroaches from every frame. Yes, for sure, Americans do deserve to have such idiotic film made for such tragic event, so let them have it. A apropos, when do we have movie about more than half million innocent civilians killed in Iraq by Americans? For all those women and children cold-heartedly slaughtered and maimed by American soldiers and not even statistically put as collateral damages? A movie about how the US invasion of Iraq provoked and increased the uniting of the world terrorism in that poor country? Where is THAT movie, mister Stone?
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A Pile of Rubble
loufalce24 March 2008
Awful "docudrama" concerning 2 cops who get buried under tons of rubble on 9-11. How dare Oliver Stone- who was quoted as saying America had it coming- make a movie to exploit this tragedy. Has America become so desensitized to the violence of the real world that we make films to exploit tragedies for the sake of entertainment? This and the earlier Flight 93 were the first- and hopefully the last films to capitalize on this tragedy. They died early deaths at the box office and it is easy to see why. As far as WTC is concerned, it does feature an average performance from Cage, and the rest of the no-name cast simply functions as a prop to support the paper thin screenplay. Needless to say, it is chock full of errors and anachronisms, but it is an Oliver Stone film, right? Beyond bad, this film is a slap in the face and an insult to anyone who either survived or died on 9-11. Exploitative garbage, pure and simple.Zero stars.
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Surprising in many respects *MILD SPOILER*
mstomaso23 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There seems to be a great deal of confusion in the varied interpretations presented here on IMDb about what this movie attempts to depict. This is not about 9/11, nor is it about heroism, nor is it about terrorism, nor politics. This is, remarkably, a very simple story about survival, the will to live, and the responsibility that goes along with being human. There are a number of nuanced sub-themes (all of those listed above) as well, and the most important of these, from my unique perspective (and I welcome contrary opinions as opposed to labeling them WRONG), is the power of love.

What we are given by a refreshingly invisible Oliver Stone in WTC is a story based on objective facts in the lives of two men who remained trapped in the World Trade Center debris for longer than anybody else. The story remains faithful to most of this story, though the Marine who refused to give up on finding survivors was ethnically miscast. Concerns about poetic license aside, the film takes a subject which could have easily fallen into the abyss of exploitation or the minefield of political commentary Stone sometimes flirts with, but instead, WTC tells the story from an appropriate perspective - that of the men themselves, their families, and those attempting to cope with their apparent loss. This is a film which, if mishandled, could have been boring, offensive and pathetic. It is none of those things, though it is also likely to annoy a lot of people who enter the theater with misbegotten expectations.

I believe Stone accomplished what he set out to do. I believe Michael Pena was wonderful, and Nicholas Cage, Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal were all very good. And, though his skin color was not historically accurate (and I wonder about the racialism that makes this seem to matter a great deal to some people), I enjoyed Michael Shannon's brief but crucial performance. Moreover, I applaud Stone for doing something many people didn't think he could pull off - making a film without leaving his own ideological signature everywhere in it.

Now - back to love. WTC is not a love story. But love permeates its substratum. The love between the two victims whose predicament becomes ours throughout the course of the film; the love within their families; the love of Americans for each other; and the love of a hero for the deity which inspires him. If there is any particular message I took away from WTC, it is that love is often fleeting, always strong, and always in need of maintenance, but that more than any force in the world - religion, politics, or even war and hate - it can help save us all.

Set against the backdrop of an American cataclysm which has, at least in some people's historical imagination, outweighed the Great Depression, the bombing of Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor, the hope this movie promotes - and the reminder of that feeling of desperate hope so many of us felt after the day this all really happened - is well worth the price of admission. In this way - while the film really does not treat 9/11 as its major subject - it does capture the spirit and feeling of that fateful day quite wonderfully.
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Very Well Done Movie!!! With No Political Agenda...
dianajay11 August 2006
We weren't sure whether or not we would want to see this movie. Oliver Stone is someone who's movies we don't usually agree with. After reading many of the reviews on this site, we decided to give this movie a chance.

It is a very impressive, well executed movie... with excellent acting, directing and editing!!! It is a movie that will remind you of that day, however, it is a movie about heroes, friendships and triumphs. Yes, there are points in the movie that you will tear up and even cry, yet there is also laughter at some points and there is a lot of positive throughout the movie even though it is was a time of crisis and horror surrounding the situation. The horror of that day does exist in the movie, however it isn't overplayed or too dramatic to watch.... Also, that is not the main part of the movie. The movie is based on the lives to two of the trapped survivors as they tell/recall what happened to them on that day.

The audience sat in awe watching the movie... nobody ever got up to leave their seats... and everyone was amazed at the end of how well the story was told. I've never seen the Theatre so crowded on a weeknight (almost at capacity)... and it was being shown on multiple screens at a big theater.

I do recommend all American's see this movie... as it pays tribute to the heroes and shows some of the good that came from the tragedy.
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Hollywood Deals With 9/11 On Realistic And Human Terms
virek21318 August 2006
It is unlikely that any film, documentary or otherwise, can depict the horrors of September 11, 2001 with the same kind of accuracy as those who were direct witness to the nightmare. But this year, Hollywood has shown a willingness to tackle 9/11 from a deeply human perspective, first through the TV film FLIGHT 93, then Paul Greengrass' excellent feature film UNITED 93, and now through director Oliver Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTER.

Stone, a native New Yorker, but also a polarizing figure of the cinema via his dark and controversial explorations of recent U.S. history and politics (PLATOON; JFK, etc.), has sought to focus on the true meaning of heroism by focusing in on Port Authority officers John McLoughlin and William Jimeno, who, along with their fellow Port Authority and NYC fire and police personnel, went into the World Trade Center towers to evacuate as many people as possible from there after the two jets were rammed into the buildings. The two men, however, nearly became a part of history right then and there when the towers crumbled. For twenty hours, both men were trapped under twenty thousand tons of steel and concrete, some twenty feet deep. They were the only Port Authority personnel who survived the destruction of the towers, and among only twenty people in all who got out in the end. Nearly 2,700 others weren't as lucky in the WTC puzzle of 9/11.

McLoughlin and Jimeno are portrayed superbly in WORLD TRADE CENTER by Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena, who accurately depict the professional blue-collar ethic of the Big Apple's finest and bravest. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Maria Bello, respectively, portray Donna McLoughlin and Allison Jimeno, their wives who were on edge during the entire time of this apocalyptic crisis, wondering whether their husbands were going to make it out of there. Their stories, though individual, serve as a microcosm for the thousands of others there that day, both the dead and the survivors. This last point is something that Stone makes very clear: the kind of humanity in the face of so much inhumanity that day. It is something that has gotten lost in the intervening five years, in which opportunistic politicians have used 9/11 as a weapon to whip up false patriotism, scare tactics, and a bloody war in Iraq that had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on America. Stone, however, stays away from the kind of political critique that was a hallmark of JFK and several of his other films, and shows us the kind of true heroism that the far-right has often accused Hollywood of deliberately avoiding, but which they themselves couldn't possibly manufacture even on their best day.

Along with FLIGHT 93 and UNITED 93, WORLD TRADE CENTER proves that Hollywood is ready to respond with a clear, realistic, and human look at one of this nation's darkest days. So too is the American public, and the world at large. The question now is: Are our politicians willing to do so without resorting to name-calling, pointless propaganda, and macho warmongering? That in and of itself will tell us a lot, and WORLD TRADE CENTER should add to the pressure to force that issue.
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A Great Drama
imajestr28 July 2006
I saw an advanced screening of World Trade Center last night, and I was very impressed. I went into it unbiased, deciding that I would indeed like to hear the story of what happened to the two officers this movie is about, and I would take it for what it is, regardless of whether or not people think it's still too soon.

This is a very moving and intense look at the story of the officers' ordeal as well as what their families had to go through. Of course, the viewer is reminded of a lot that happened on that day, and it is disturbing, sad, and angering just as the real events were. However, the movie makes no attempt at all to explain what happened or give some great message to the world about terrorism, government, or war. It's more of a character study and simply a look at a terrible event from several perspectives.

The acting is superb, and I have more respect for Nicholas Cage after this movie than I did going into it. There are some very intense moments, and moments that, as I've said, are angering and disturbing, but not to make the viewer want to walk away, but simply to be angry that these events had to occur in the first place.

Thankfully, there are several moments of humor throughout the movie, to give the viewer a break perhaps, but they work well.

I gave this movie a 7 out of 10 because the writing at times was not all that it could have been, especially some of the dialogue. Overall, the acting is great and the characters feel real, but in some scenes you may feel like the sentimentality is being forced and doesn't feel genuine.

I will recommend this movie to people who are not dead set against it, or someone who is just looking for exactly what it is: a movie made for entertainment and as a tribute to those that died.
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A classless play on emotions
hugodinwitty12 August 2006
I know that many people who don't like this movie say so just because they thought it was made at an inappropriate time. Personally, I hated this movie on its own merit as poor film-making. It seems that Oliver Stone just decided he wanted to make a movie, any movie, about 9/11, and didn't care about the content of the movie. The end result was a movie of such pitiful quality that one could go though the script and replace the term "police officer" with "miner" and "World Trade Center" with "a coal mine" and the entire script would work perfectly as a cave-in disaster movie. It's that generic. Stone tries to carry the movie just by showing how sad the families were and how scared the policemen were, meanwhile allowing the audience no interesting plot points to hold on to, nor any significance to the tragedy. In the end, I have to conclude that Oliver Stone just wanted to get some cheap emotional reactions from the crowd, because at one point the movie says that it is about the potential for good in humanity and how strong we can be in the face of adversity. Stone quickly forgets this, because only about 15% of the movie even shows people coming together to help one another. The other 85% of the movie is spent watching the families argue or seeing flashbacks to their happy memories, which is a good way to get audience reaction but hardly lends any significance or depth to the plot. I don't in any way want to belittle the pain that these families had to endure, which is why I am disappointed that that pain was exploited to make a bad movie. September 11 was the most important and tragic event in my lifetime, and I think it deserves more respect than to be made into a generic, poorly-written disaster movie less than five years after it happened.
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Truly offended. The Negative Reviews De-Bunked very quickly
witster1831 January 2016
First, this isn't a political film, this is a character-driven film. I hate I have to even touch on the politics. The trade centers went down. Fact. Because of terrorists, fact. THey killed 3,000 people in 3 hours. Fact.

The film doesn't show the towers falling down. The film doesn't mention anything about why, who, or what motivated anyone. It focuses on a small group of men, risking their lives to save others in the light of tragedy, and in the process, creates onE of the best dramatic duo performances of the decade.

Cage and Pena are truly incredible here! Undoubtedly the best performance from Pena and Probably the second best performance or even equal to Leaving Las Vegas for Cage. Tour-De-Force acting. Surprised Michael didn't get an Oscar nom here.

I can see why anti-American's would hate this film. It shows everything that is great about Americans and New Yorkers in 2 Hours.

It's quite simply the best 6.0 film on IMDb, and more deserving of 8/10 imo. 81/100 is where I'm scoring it. It's not the best film I've ever seen but it's a very strong film, and easily top 10 for the year it was released. The film is about the moment, not any motivation or reaction. Period. Get a life people.

Watch this movie if you haven't. Strike every 1-2 star rating as American-hate - No movie with these types of performances should even sniff those low-scores... the movie doesn't have an agenda but anyone who would score it a 1-2, with this quality, most assuredly does(you can take that to the bank). 1 or 2? I mean seriously? Did you even watch the movie? No. THey didn't. And if they did, I couldn't trust any other review they'd ever given/written. Moronic.

Very. Good. Movie. At the bottom of Stone's Top-5 imo. Here is how good the movie is... the worst thing about it... are Maria Bello's contact lenses.
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Another Pearl Harbour
morc-49 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I knew this was going to be utter hail America bull even before watching it. We have a club of 10 people, who regularly attend the theaters and watch random movies. Believe me, if I had a choice, I would have never had any interest in watching this. But anyway, as I predicted, well as we all predicted, actually, we were bored through the whole film. Except for those moments where we along with the rest of the theater were laughing at especially the marine and the other cheesy moments in this disaster of a film. When it was finally over, people just stood outside laughing at how bad the film was and talking about this marine, who wanted to dig through tons of rubble with his super fantastic American marine knife!! "Don't worry, I won't leave you! I'm a marine!" Yes! He actually says that! And then we are told, that he goes to Iraq for 2 years to get revenge. I ask then, was he one of those enraged psychos who raped Iraqi women and murdered their families down there then ? And what has Iraq to do with WTC ? What a joke.

What an insult to the people who died or had friends or family members who died at this terrible tragedy. I will never see a Nicholas Cage film again nor an Olive Stone one. What maniac thought up the lines of that marine ? I'm baffled.

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a good film,I don't understand the negative reviews.
ib011f9545i7 September 2021
Warning: Spoilers
British person,Scottish.

I saw this film on the big screen when it came out.

I watch the dvd of this and of Flight 93 most years in September.

The 9/11 attacks were important events in world history,you don't have to be an American to appreciate how important they were.

This is a moving and well made and acted film.

It is not perfect,the timeline is not always clear for example.

But the critics on here saying the film is American propaganda best consumed by Americans are totally wrong in my view.

Non Americans,even people who know little of the real events can get a lot from this film.

It really is not a rabble rousing film,compare it to Patriot Day for example.

One critic on here complains it tells the story of 2 men not 2700 people.

Well obviously you can't make a film about 2700 people.
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A reminder of that fateful day.
lewishamilton-359619 December 2018
This is an excellent film on a very touchy subject. World Trade Center makes an excellent companion piece to United 93. The films have different styles and they present diverse perspectives of a day that has limitless faces. Both are thoughtful, intelligent, and emotionally potent. They provoke and challenge, asking us not only to face our memories but to question our future. By being less political than he has ever been, Stone offers a movie that can be embraced by movie-goers who sit on the left side of the theater, in the center, or on the right. It's an achievement, and it makes one hope that future feature films about 9/11 will exhibit the same mix of dramatic force and tasteful restraint.
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Sad way of money making
JohnBenjaminKerkhoven3 November 2006
This movie brings nothing new. The only reason why people are going to watch disaster-movie nr 911 is because it stars the twin towers.

It's a sad way of making some dough out of this (film-wise) uninteresting event.

A couple of thousand people dieing is (how sad as it may be on a personal level) no unique happening; how many people die in Dafur, Ethiopia every month? Yet, I see no movie about that! There is probably more money to make with Americans dieing than with Africans starving.

More interesting would have been a movie that deals with the "why?" question... Why does the US draw so-much aggression? If you are looking for answers to that question you will have to look elsewhere; not to be found in this movie.

Mr. Stone misses a golden opportunity here. He has taken a milestone in geo-politics and could come up with nothing more than a combination of a "run of the mill" disaster movie and a tearjerker.
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It had no message, so I loved it! Go America! Pass me another Budweiser!
gorgeous_blackman10 August 2006
If you liked this movie, you might be a redneck. Leave it up to the citizens of an oblivious, myopic, imperialist country like ours to love a movie that "redeems" the events of September 11. Leave it up to such citizens to like a movie because it does NOT make a political comment, or any other kind of comment, and is, instead, a story of courage and the "triumph" of the "human spirit." How very refreshing. It all reminds me of the sarcastic musings of a Beckett character, who says that before he dies, he hopes to become more able to find "the good in the bad, the bad in the worse." People, if we're always finding the mote of hope in the sea of tragedy, then why should we consider ANYTHING a tragedy? The reactions most people have to this movie are a symptom of a disease--and they are a hint that September 11 has basically changed nothing about the way we think about the world. They are a sign that "it" will probably happen AGAIN. So--go watch this flick, crunch your popcorn, shed a few sappy tears, then get back into your Hummer, fill up with 70 bucks of gas, run over a few homeless people (why can't they just get a job?!), and continue about your day.
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The second of two excellent 9/11 films
dukefan197113 August 2006
Normally, I am not a fan of Oliver Stone, having only slightly liked a few of his films. I also know about his penchant for conspiracy-spouting in his films, and I took that with me into the film. What I saw, however, was a truly inspirational, realistic, and gritty film that left me in awe of the two brave men depicted in the film, and how the extraordinary events of a day that will forever be in our memories affected even the most normal of people. I have also seen United 93, which was an incredibly realistic and powerful film. Thankfully for myself and every other viewer of World Trade Center, Mr. Stone left his conspiracy soapbox at home, and presented another film about 9/11 in the same vein as that earlier film. It doesn't present anyone as a hero--just a bunch of ordinary people caught up in one of the worst losses of life in our nation's history. However, by the end of the film, you learn that there is a hero in all people, and that when called upon by circumstances, everyday people can become truer superheroes than any comic book character ever was. I highly recommend this film to everyone, though its more graphic sequences may be unsuitable for younger viewers (under 13). In fact, I think both this and United 93 should be required viewing for anyone who wants to understand why this--like Pearl Harbor for my grandparents and JFK's assassination for my parents--is the day my generation will remember exactly where each one of them was when it happened. For those who died, we can not--should not--ever forget.
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Stone Cold
JohnDeSando4 August 2006
Stone cold, that's what I call the new Oliver Stone film, World Trade Center. Taking the story of two Port Authority Police who survived, Stone manages to make the singular event of the last decade a boring made-for-TV story of two cops buried and waiting rescue, by the Marines no less. There are marks of an auteur to be sure such as the set design, just as authentic looking as when I visited ground zero after the attack. But the mark of the real Stone, one that carries the heft of his personal opinion about an event (Platoon) or his off-center look at history (JFK), is absent.

Let's face it: Two cops, John McLoughlin (Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), buried beneath rubble with small talk to keep themselves alive is neither great drama nor riveting suspense when you know ahead of time they are 2 of the 20 to be saved and their dialog doesn't come close to the bite of WWII film foxhole repartee. Cutting as often as he can to the dull families in New Jersey waiting for word about their lost loved ones, Stone still fails to make even this horrific event interesting.

As a matter of fact, he fails to put the event into its larger context of a world crisis that changes the way we live forever. It's a challenge to do so if you choose only a small part of the event, but a great director should be able to as Stone did, for instance, with Wall Street, where the shenanigans of one broker clearly represented a corrupt generation of self-centered consumers.

It's as if Oliver Stone promised Hollywood after his disastrous Alexander (which I liked) that he'd be a good boy and not editorialize about 9/11. Heck, point of view is Stone: Remember the conspiracy theory of JFK? Google "Loose Change" to get an introduction to 9/11 conspiracy theory and wonder why Oliver Stone couldn't have gone there rather than the straight way. Or at least part of the way.

"While you here do snoring lie, Open-eyed conspiracy His time doth take. If of life you keep a care, Shake off slumber, and beware: Awake, awake!" Shakespeare, the Tempest
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