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A powerful, tasteful and important film...
botner21 April 2006
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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Gut and heart wrenching...
saraemiller128 April 2006
I was one of the people who said I wouldn't go see this movie because I felt they were capitalizing on a national tragedy and the trailer gave me nightmares. But, my curiosity got the best of me when I read several positive quotes by numerous critics outside the US. So, I picked up a ticket for the 2:00 show.

There truly are no words to describe the power of this film. The cinematography is excellent, albeit a little unsteady with the shaky lens thing going on. I found that the film very much followed the reports in the 9/11 Commission's book, as well as numerous others. They stuck to the facts and didn't add in any glorified scenes that weren't warranted. You saw the mass confusion as the various air traffic control centers tried to make sense of what was going on. You saw the events on the plane unfold as we think they did that morning. You saw ordinary Americans, scared and frightened, band together and try and keep that plane from hitting another target.

Do we know exactly what was said between people on the planes? No. But there are survivors who had messages from loved ones on their answering machines and people who talked to them that day. The film is a little violent for my tastes, but no more so than any 'Blockbuster' fictional hit out there right now, and this is reality as we know it. Any discrepancies are not for me or you to decide, as those secrets are buried in Pennsylvania.

When it ended, I've never seen a more still theater. You could hear people breathing as they pulled themselves together. This is something that happened to our nation, and while it shouldn't take a movie to make people remember, maybe it does. Maybe we have forgotten or chosen to ignore what happened that day, falling to politics and quick to accuse people who didn't prevent it. Maybe we are against this movie because it makes us uncomfortable, as all meaningful things should. Who knows? Not I.

But, I do know that United 93 was done in a tasteful, respectful manner, and many of the families affected on 9/11 supported its release. Who are we to say otherwise? See the movie and then make your judgment call. You may find yourself surprised, just as I did.
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Understated but powerful
Richard_Lawson28 April 2006
This movie approaches an incredibly sensitive subject in an entirely appropriate manner: with subtlety and understatement.

The actors look like real people and talk like real people talk. There are no dramatic exclamations. Even the signature "Let's roll" line is stated almost in passing without any special significance being brought to it. The movie was utterly convincing in portraying how real people would have responded. There were no Bruce Willis or Wesley Snipe types amongst the passengers; they were ordinary folk in extraordinary situations, responding the best way they could.

Kudos to the filmmakers for not allowing this to become an overwrought melodrama. Instead, we saw a glimpse into the confusion and pain of people in the middle of the events of 9/11. Because it was understated, because it felt real, the impact was much stronger and gut-wrenching.
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Father-Tiresias28 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When this film was over a silence hung over the theater unlike any I had ever heard. My eyes watered as I left the hall, and I said a quick prayer as I exited; simply in honor of all the people who died on September 11th.

There is a sequence in this film where the passengers are portrayed praying, as are the terrorists. The languages and prayers are spliced together through a series of short scenes that depict the emotional impact that everyone was feeling.

That is what this movie is about. It does not deal with conspiracy theories. In fact, to do so would be more untrue than any other lie that the film-makers have been accused of telling. This movie is about what the people around the country were feeling as the tragedy of that day unfolded. No one was sitting there thinking, 'I wonder if our government was in on this?' All the people on that plane were thinking of only one thing: survival. That is what this movie portrays, and it addresses several themes in doing so, such as god, faith, unity, and the will to survive. These are not 'American' themes. They are human themes. The terrorists in the film are not portrayed in a horrible, demonizing light. In fact, the audience is ushered to feel sympathy for them in certain scenes. This movie was not made as propaganda, or as a means to make money. If one simply views the film, this becomes apparent. If any 9/11 movie is an attempt to make money, I would say it is Stone's 'World Trade Center.' This film was a prayer, not propaganda, and not propagating falsities. It was something that came from the heart, and after viewing the intense performances and believably real reactions, that also becomes apparent.
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The last 15 minutes will leave you speechless
nived8428 April 2006
There are two reasons why people go to the movies. They either go to be amused, entertained or distracted from the pressures of the real world; it's called escapism. The other is to learn, experience, educate, inform and face what our world is all about. Films like Schindler's List, Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan, All the President's Men, and this week another film joins that list; Paul Greengrass' visceral and heartbreaking United 93. Some say it's too soon for a film about 9/11 to come out, but I disagree. I think this film is a bold and important reminder of why we're still fighting to this very day, and it puts us up close and personal with our very enemy; face to face. I don't think I've had such a profound and sober movie going experience like this since I saw The Passion of the Christ, and when the film was over how did the audience react? Applause.

United 93 is shot entirely with hand-held cameras to perfectly capture the realism of the events that happened that day. The film was written and directed by British filmmaker Paul Greengrass, who's previous films include 2004's blockbuster hit The Bourne Supremacy and the critically acclaimed 2002 docu-drama Bloody Sunday, and every frame of his vision is unflinching, intense and heart pounding from it's quiet beginning to it's nerve-wracking and stomach turning finale. The film is never exploitive of the events of 9/11 and always remains respectful to the memories of those on board that fateful plane.

Everybody knows the story, and everybody knows how it's going to end, but that never stops the film from being suspenseful. The film is pretty much void of any character development, and the film never, not even for a second feels like a movie, it looks like a documentary. And I'm sure the way Greengrass has captured the shock, confusion, chaos and panic of that morning is how it must have gone down. The cameras cover the action from all perspectives; from the National Air Traffic Control Center, airport towers, regional air traffic stations, and a military command room where soldiers try to figure out if and when they have the authority to shoot down a necessary target in order to protect Washington. One of the amazing things about United 93 is its casting. The casting of the film includes a number of real life United pilots, stewardesses, air traffic controllers and military personnel, many of them actually playing themselves. The cast of passengers are a group of largely unknowns, which lends great respectability and reality. We are seeing these people for the first time, with no previous knowledge of them as actors and it only works in their favor.

The film opens quietly with several hijackers going through their morning rituals, reading aloud from the Koran; praying to God and kneeling on the floor of their hotel room and then packing their things to head to the Newark airport. And from there we are introduced to several different air traffic controller technicians and we watch as they discover that two planes have been hi-jacked and eventually discover that they've hit the World Trade Center. These scenes are heartbreaking and feel somewhat surreal. But it's not until United flight 93 takes off that the towers are hit and the plane is up in the air when the terrorist's plans are set into motion.

The final fifteen minutes of United 93 will leave you speechless and paralyzed, as a group of passengers plan to attack and over throw the terrorists and try to take back the cockpit. It's intense, violent and overwhelmingly inspiring. The film is a well done memorial, dedicated to those who were killed on September 11th, and I truly believe that the film was done with the utmost respect to those involved and with amazing passion and sensitivity to "get it right". Director Paul Greengrass does get it right, and I honestly believe that it would have been impossible for it to have been done any better than it is here. United 93 is absolutely amazing, and to see a better or more important film this year seems very unlikely, and I think this film should be required viewing for all Americans, but when they feel that they are ready for it, because this is as real as it gets. This film is responsible film-making of the highest level and the experience is both sobering and cathartic.
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Devastating, Relentless and Ultimately Cathartic…Essential Viewing. Period.
EUyeshima28 April 2006
A most cathartic experience came over me when I viewed the much publicized "United 93". At once speculative and realistic, the 111-minute film will surely bring back the pall of fatalistic inevitability one feels about 9/11, but its more defining characteristic is revealing the untapped heroism and humanism of people caught in the most malevolent of circumstances. Masterfully written and directed by Paul Greengrass, this relentlessly intense movie covers that fateful morning when United Airlines Flight 93 departed Newark for San Francisco with 33 passengers and seven crew members on board.

As it turns out, Greengrass's heavy background in documentaries turns out to be a blessing in this treatment, as he tracks the subsequent events in real time and uses either under-the-radar actors or actual aviation personnel to play the real-life characters. Instead of focusing on the higher profile passengers to provide an emotional locus, which a more commercial filmmaker would have done, he encompasses all the passengers within the emotional purview of the film, including the four hijackers who killed the pilots and took control of the plane. The key dramatic difference is that we get to know not the people but the situation at hand. Consequently, we get a more realistic sense of the scale of the events that may have occurred on that flight. That's not to say it is any less devastating. In fact, the last half-hour is harrowing in the most personal sense as the inevitable becomes reality.

The power of the film comes from its surprisingly apolitical perspective and the inclusion of the ground personnel trying to comprehend the scope of all the redirected planes that day, in particular, Ben Sliney who effectively plays himself that day, the just-promoted supervisor of the National Air Traffic Control Center in Herndon, Va. None of the actors stand out because the film cumulatively achieves a verisimilitude that simply knocks me out. The film also does not pretend to be the definitive version of what happened on the last few moments of the flight. In an emotional sense, it is rather moot as we are talking about degrees of detail at that point. This is truly essential viewing.
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Gutwreching, Powerful and Repsectful
spgb28428 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Never has a movie stunned me as much as "United 93". I was literally shaking during the final minutes of the film. Even though I knew the outcome I tried to fight it. I kept yelling under my voice "come on guys, PUSH PUSH..., KEEP FIGHTING". But unfortunately none of us can escape the eventual tragedy. I didn't leave the auditorium until the final credits ended. When I walk out of the theater, I felt like I felt on that dreadful day of September 11th, 2001...Numb.

Paul Greengrass's film in no way exploits, sensationalizes or points fingers about what happened that day. There's no undertones or overtones. This the most respectful film i've ever seen. "Shindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" come to mind when I think about impact and power. But both Spielberg's film's followed the film-making standards of; three acts, character development etc. Greengrass throws us into the events of 9/11/01 as if it were happening right now. In fact, we never even really get introduced the the people on the flight. All we know is that whatever happened on that plane was shear terror. And from that terror hero's rose and fought back.

I live in Southern California and even though the events of 9/11 happened across the country and didn't affect me directly, I still am shakken by the events. Where I live, most people have forgotten. It's a time in history I will never forget and dread every single day. I can only imagine what the families of the victims live with everyday.

"United 93" was the most challenging film I've ever watched. It's not a popcorn flick and should not be seen for entertainment. It's a personal choice to see this film, in my opinion. But whatever you do never forget September 11th, 2001; it's victims and Hero's
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Horrifying to go through it, but I think that this is a very important film for generations to come
Smells_Like_Cheese22 September 2006
I was nervous to see any movie on September 11th due to the fact that in some ways I felt that it was too soon, seeing how we just had the 5th anniversary. Not to mention, I didn't want to go through that depression again and watch those horrifying events happen again, a girl at work had mentioned how she saw United 93 and World Trade Center, she said it was nothing like what you would expect of an action movie, it's more dedicated to those who lost their lives that tragic day.

United 93 is a truly inspiring tale about the 4th hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I remember seeing this on the news on September 11th, we heard so many different things, that it was shot down, the passengers gained on the hijackers, and to be honest I'd rather believe that the passengers stuck together and prevented more lives from being perished that day. These people were truly incredible and the thing that I loved about the film was that it was made to show that they were not victims, they chose to not be so, they knew what they were facing and unfortunately died trying.

Another thing that I appreciated is that I think we did forget about those planes that were hijacked and the horror that the passengers must have gone through. We usually only think of the World Trade Centers when we think of September 11th. I could never imagine what thoughts were racing through those passenger's heads. It truly was devastating to just think what the families were going through when they received phone calls from their loved one's and having to say good bye. We can't forget those who were so brave to help others and those who unfortunately who crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentegon, nothing could be strong enough to say about them, my sincere condolences to the families.

I was wrong about these films, they truly are important. Even though it's fresh in most of our memories, let's not forget those who died trying to save others. God bless the souls on Flight United 93, you truly are hero's and will never be forgotten.

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United We Could
mlambertint5 July 2006
Frozen, speechless, devastated. That's how I was at the end of the film and judging by the silence in the auditorium the whole audience felt the same. A remarkable achievement. Not a single cheap shot. Knowing, as we all know, what happened on that fatal September 11th. The time lapse between the first plane hitting the World Trade center and the second seemed interminable. The faces of the passengers, without even knowing their names, are still vivid in my mind. Extraordinary. Not to mention the terrorist's faces. So real, so human. Tears were running down my face as a chill run down my spine witnessing the terrorists as well as the passengers praying. God, seen through a different optical at different times for exactly the same reasons. The brave decision of the passengers to die trying to protect all of us is something that we in the ground we seem to have forgotten. We could all stand together as well in everybody's name for everybody's good. You see, here I am, inspired and aspiring to inspire.
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I think the more people that watch this will understand a little more about human nature
Movieguy_blogs_com12 May 2006
In 'United 93' we take a look at what might have happen to United flight 93 on September 11th. Of the aircraft that were hijacked on September 11th, only United flight 93 did not reach its intended target. This is the story about the events leading up to the hijacking and about the people who tried to save United flight 93.

At first I did not want to see this film. I had no desire to see someone's interpretation of what happened. However, I am glad I did see it. This is probably one of the most riveting and intense films I have ever seen. It is a little slow at first. But, as you follow the events as they unfold, you become captivating in this movie.

Several people have pointed fingers; wanting to blame someone for what happened. I think the more people that watch this will understand a little more about human nature. I do not think anything could have prevented these tragedies; we can only hope to prevent history from repeating itself.
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A superb drama and tribute to those that died that day.
tenseventyone26 April 2006
On September 11, 2001, four commercial airplanes were successfully hijacked. Three of them hit their target. UNITED 93 is the story of the fourth plane that was successfully thwarted from achieving its goal.

Its objective, to hit the White House, was thwarted by a group of individuals that were flying home to San Francisco from Newark on that fateful flight. The plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

We know this to be true. But what Writer/Director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, Bourne Supremacy) did was take a sensitive and controversial subject and turn it into a drama that is both stunning and powerful. It brings to light the heroic actions taken by the passengers and crew to try and overtake a plane they knew was on a one-way trip to a terrorist act. We get insight of the real-time actions taken by the military, air-traffic and flight control personnel and how they tried in vain to take control of the situation (and ultimately grounding every single plane in flight that day).

However well the movie portrayed the crew and passengers, I found the portrayal of one of the hijackers (the pilot) a bit discomforting. Hopefully, Greengrass had some inside knowledge to make the viewer feel some sympathy for him and that it wasn't done just for the sheer entertainment value.

United 93 is a serious portrayal and memorial to those whose brave actions saved a Capitol but, unfortunately, was unable to save themselves. As the 5th year anniversary of 9/11 nears, take some time to remember these and the rest of those that died on that terrible day.
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United 93 is an unflinching and remarkable drama
Super_Minister_X23 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
United 93 is an unflinching drama that tells the story of the passengers and crew, their families on the ground and the flight controllers who watched in dawning horror as United Airlines Flight 93 became the fourth hijacked plane on the day of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil: September 11, 2001.

United 93 recreates the doomed trip in actual time, from takeoff to hijacking to the realization by those onboard that their plane was part of a coordinated attack unfolding on the ground beneath them. The film attempts to understand the abject fear and courageous decisions of those whoever the course of just 90 minutes transformed from a random assembly of disconnected strangers into bonded allies who confronted an unthinkable situation.

As 2006 marks the passing of five years since the epochal events of 9/11, the time has come for contemporary cinema's leading filmmakers to dramatically investigate the events of that day, its causes and its consequences, and the everyday individuals whose fates were forever altered while simply going about their common workday rituals.

There is no perfect record of the hijacking's exact details and hostage retaliation, the film takes a careful hand and partially improvises the events with an ensemble cast of unknown actors who were given studies of their United 93 counterparts.

United 93 intends to dignify the memory of those on that flight, the men and women whose sacrifice remains one of the most heroic legacies of the incomprehensible tragedies that unfolded on that autumn morning.
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Americans need to face the ruthlessness of their enemies
VIsForVictory22 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Some people have said that this movie is "too soon". When this heart-pounding, gut-twisting picture opens April 28, four years, seven months, and 17 days will have elapsed since 9/11. Is that too soon? Islamofascists do not know the words "too soon." Just 13 months after 9/11, Al Qaeda franchisees bombed nightclubs in Bali on October 12, 2002, killing 202 people, including seven Americans.

Exactly two and a half years after 9/11, Al Qaeda attacked trains in Madrid, on March 11, 2004, killing 191 commuters.

Nearly three years and 10 months after 9/11, Al Qaeda struck yet again, on July 7, 2005, killing 52 on the London Underground and a local bus.

Almost daily, Al Qaeda in Iraq blasts Iraqis, Americans, and others through ceaseless acts of stunning viciousness.

United 93 arrives just in time. As we bicker over Donald Rumsfeld's job security by day and obsess over American Idol by night, writer-director Paul Greengrass offers a harrowing reminder of what's in play on Earth today.

In a film of devastating emotional power, Greengrass traces that morning's mounting horrors. This is no PC film crafted by moral relativists in Malibu. As soon as Universal Studios' logo fades to black, a man quietly prays in Arabic. He holds a small Koran in his palms while sitting atop a motel bed. "It's time," one hijacker announces, and their murderous journey begins.

United 93 should bury for good the absurd cliché that violent Muslim zealots are "cowards." Rather than watch their knees knock together like castanets, the four Al Qaeda agents on the doomed flight are focused and ruthless. When a cockpit screen announces, "Two aircraft hit World Trade Center," the Al Qaeda agents celebrate. "The brothers have hit the targets," says pilot Ziad Jarrah. "We're in control," replies hijacker Saeed Al Ghamdi. "Thanks be to God." Behind them, ordinary Americans who had been eating omelets, knitting, and perusing travel guides quickly discern that their plane is a missile, and they mount a plan to retake it.

Though their jet slammed upside down into a field at 580 MPH, United 93's 44 passengers surely spared many more lives than they sacrificed. They also likely saved the U.S. Capitol, whose photo Jarrah affixes like prey to the airliner's steering column.

"That final image haunts me — a physical struggle for the controls of a gasoline-fueled 21st-Century flying machine between a band of suicidal religious fanatics and a group of innocents drawn from amongst us all," Greengrass said. "It's really, in a way, the struggle for our world today." Greengrass uses little known actors and even some real-life air-traffic controllers and military tacticians who were on duty on 9/11. They make the film feel like a documentary, or perhaps a reality TV show captured on celluloid. The cast appears perfectly authentic as they grapple with a growing sense of doom and an increasingly unfathomable challenge.

One performance stands out among many fine ones. Ben Sliney ran the FAA's Command Center in Herndon, Virginia, from which it coordinated air-traffic controllers' response to the hijackings. It also quickly grounded some 4,500 aircraft across America. Sliney supervised all this on 9/11, his first day on that job. He is portrayed rivetingly on screen by none other than Ben Sliney himself.

This fine film's verisimilitude parallels recent, real-world developments.

"Shall we pull it down?" Jarrah asks another hijacker as passengers bang on the cockpit door.

"Yes, put it in it, and pull it down," the other replies. "Allah is the greatest." Those words are on tapes played at the death-penalty trial of Al Qaeda agent Zacarias Moussaoui. His Arctic demeanor mirrors the ice-cold evil that runs through the veins of those who have declared war on America and our allies.

United 93 is coming at the right time.
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Hyper-realism and Paul Grenngrasses 'shakey camera' adds up to make one of the most powerful stories in recent years.
berryj623 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The strange thing about United 93 (the name of the plane that never reached its destination) is that we know the cabin crew and their terrified passengers are tragically going to die. No matter how hard they try on-screen, we know they are doomed. This forces a strange mix of realism and hope upon the audience, and though they will exit depressed, the film has done 9/11 justice. During the entire film as it climaxes, switching between the sweating generals in the crowded, stuffy air traffic control bases and between the horrified yet defiant passengers on the plane. And the cinematography, plot, dialogue and directing all enforces this generally well, making the story of the people killed in 9/11 worthwhile and suitably strong.

The shaky camera in the film is used to full. It's not sickening, buts it is c0nsistent and creates a strong, extremely realistic sense. Even the lighting is right in the film, as the colour tones and natural sense only reinforce the super-realism that drives this tragic tale. The acting is not Oscar-winning, but it is deadly serious and super-consistent. Paul Greengrass puts the icing on this creditable cake with a strong-willed and unrelentless story-telling.

Though it could pack a harder punch, with a look into the evil behind the plane and the after-math
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Americans emotionally exploited
emilianna14 April 2007
I cannot believe the high rating this movie has received. The only reason why it is on the top 250 movies list is from all the Americans voting it there, purely out of an emotional connection to the terrible atrocities of 9/11. Yes, the rest of the world sympathises with you, we too were traumatised by what happened to your country and cried with you. But for goodness sakes people! See this movie for what it truly is, a blatant attempt to profit from your emotional trauma, only produced to help Americans come to terms with the reality of what happened and most probably used to help feed your support for the Bush administrations justifications to invade Afganistan and Iraq.

This is not deserving of being ranked so highly and would have been better released as an American TV movie featurette, not pumped to the rest of the English speaking world to have to deal with.
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dynapoleon20 April 2006
Probably the best movie of the year! This movie handles the many different emotions it brings to the surface in a professional and technically proficient way - it is one of the most well-crafted "docu-dramas" I have ever seen. We sit in the plane with the heroes of that day, we watch it unfold from the perspectives of the flight controllers and NORAD, we feel the confusion, the torment, and ultimately, the victory in the end. It is a great commentary on the human spirit and a great achievement in cinematography and editing. Paul Greengrass has opened up a dialogue that hopefully will never stop - a positive dialogue about that horrible day.
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Public opinion will kill it
qvdb23 April 2006
This films gives us an insight at the lesser known aspect of September 11th, Flight 93's mysterious crash. The story is told excellently, with strong performances from unknown actors. This makes it all more believable, and leaves a bigger impact on us. Can you picture a famous figure such as Brad Pitt standing up against terrorists in such a serious drama? The problem with this type of film is that Americans, for the most, are not ready for this, and thus the film will be the target of much criticism trashing this movie, because it is too 'soon'. Didn't Apocalypse Now come out not a few years after the Vietnam war? The politics behind this movie will kill its reputation, and an excellent movie will be forgotten, much like last year's Jarhead.

Overall an excellent movie, I'm really looking forward to more of these such as the upcoming World Trade Center. 8/10
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Powerful, gut-wrenching, emotional work
eichelbergersports23 April 2006
When the screening of "United 93" came to an end last week, several members of the San Diego Film Critics Society commented that this would be a very difficult film to review.

I concur with those sentiments, but I had no problem giving this a high recommendation. It's not an easy film to watch, but I believe people should see it, if not as a tribute to those who died, then as a remembrance that due vigilance is constantly necessary in these dark times.

Some may disagree and call it "propaganda," but that is patently ridiculous.

Based on the United Airlines Flight 93, the fourth U.S. jet hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001 (and the only liner not to strike its intended target), this movie has the intentional feel of a documentary, and is thus difficult to really criticize.

Much of this reasoning is that the picture tells a straight enough story, with little or no dramatic embellishments (other than to speculate what exactly took place on-board the doomed craft) in real time, from take-off to its ultimate crash, approximately 90 minutes.

What there is, however, is a moving, powerful, gut-wrenching, emotional work by director/writer Paul Greengrass ("Bourne Supremacy," "Resurrected," "Bloody Sunday"). Nevertheless, he will no doubt take some heat form some uninitiated film-goers who equate this movie with a piece of propaganda, but that could not be further from the truth.

Greengrass plays it fairly even down the line, and cockpit voice recordings, as well as last phone calls from passengers and crew seem to indicate his vision of the plane's hijacking seem pretty close to factual.

Of course, no one is going to know 100 percent of what happened aboard flight 93, since no one survived its ultimate crash in Shanksville, Penn. at 10:05 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. However, this much is true: Four terrorists, led by Saeed Al Ghamdi (Lewis Alsamari), forcibly commandeered the aircraft and most likely killed or disabled the crew, Capt. Jason Dahl (J.J. Johnson) and First Officer LeRoy Homer (Gary Commock), as well as one or more passengers.

One of the hijackers, Ahmed Al Haznawi (Omar Berdouni) has brandished a fake bomb, which keeps the passengers at bay long enough for Ghamdi to turn the San Francisco-bound craft east towards Washington, DC.

Stunned by the events, but believing them to be completely isolated, the passengers are shocked to discover – via cell and air phone conversations – that planes have already smashed into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

They now realize this is not a hostage situation, that the flight is to be used as a missile against an unknown target, and they will probably not escape with their lives.

It's then that the passengers, mainly Todd Beamer (David Alan Basche, "War of the Worlds") Joseph DeLuca (Ray Charleston, "Out For A Kill"), Jeremy Glick (Peter Herman, "The Treatment") and Mark Bingham (Cheyenne Jackson, "Curiosity"), attempt to retake the plane.

And while these scenes are gripping enough, the real fascination (for this scribbler, at least) comes from the segments in which the various civilian and military air traffic controllers, as well as other technicians, come to the cold realization that something horrible and unprecedented is taking place in the nation's skies that autumn morning.

The drama that builds as controllers scramble to identify possible hijacked planes (American Airline Flight 11 and United 175), and their investigation into 93's dilemma, is excruciatingly tense.

"United 93" also exposes some serious miscommunication between civilian and military authorities, with no one knowing much of anything until it is way too late.

Another interesting touch is that Greengrass chose not to populate the picture with big names, which would have diluted the impact (in fact, several roles are actually played by real ATC personnel, recreating the positions they held in 2001 for this movie).

This is not an easy film to watch, but I could not look away. And while some make scoff at the conclusions made by Greengrass, this is nevertheless a moving and thought-provoking piece of work.
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electrictoothsyndrome6 March 2007
This film is propaganda at its best.

To those who watched this film and thought it was a moving tribute to a planeload of heros, think again.

I encourage everyone to question the content of this film and the official government version of events. It's really not difficult to see how the memories of those that died on that day are being used for political purposes, and this film is another brick in that wall of shame.

Don't soil the memories of those murdered on that day by subscribing to this propaganda. Do them a REAL honor and inform yourself wat really happened that day.

Watch one of the following films instead:

9/11 Mysteries Loose Change 9/11 Martial Law: Rise of the Police State

All can be seen for free online. Just do a google search. Let the truth set you free.
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spotlight_on_nick11 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I recently rented this movie, because there was nothing else I felt like watching. Now, i'm fully aware of the controversy of this film. I'm also aware of the gravity of the events on 9/11. I get it. But this film was just not any good. It's a film, it's entertainment - And this is NOT entertaining.

It's a film that attempts to put the watcher on the same level as the people involved, expect the only thing it succeeds in doing is annoying the hell out of anyone watching. I mean, the first 80% of the film can be summed up with two things: The first "There's a hijacking?" "Yes, there's a hijacking." "Oh my god, is there a hijacking?" "What's this about a hijacking?" "What can to be done to end this hijacking?" "There's no way there could possibly be a hijacking." etc. It's frustrating, especially when you get to the part when the action actually takes place, you don't see any of it. The second part goes something like this. "Yeah, back home I have a family... A Dog, a wife, 2 kids, and a nice luxury sedan" from every damn person on the flight. No disrespect intended to those who had family involved, but they could tone down this aspect of the story because when they attempt to get it involved, it comes across being bland and corny.

I could continue to speak on how unrealistic is is that a 10 year old with a stanley knife doesn't get his ass kicked immediately be the what, 6 or 7 big guys on the flight? But it would be redundant, because it's what happened. Basically, 9/11 could spawn a great movie. I feel for anyone whose family was lost in the senseless tragedy, but this movie is terribly acted and there is little to no reason not to doze off until about the 90 minute mark.
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Stay Away, God Stay Away Warning: Spoilers
After watching this movie once, I never want to watch it again. It is without a doubt the most boring and repetitive movie that I have ever seen in my life. I became so sincerely sick of the movie within the first 30 minutes that I could have gotten out of my seat, made a sandwich, poured myself a drink, refilled my popcorn, and written a 70 page essay about the properties of sand without missing anything.

Not long after getting on the plane, we run into one of the movie's first problems. It never stops repeating itself. The head extremist on the plane is asked by one of his cohorts when they should strike. The leader says soon, and the cohort returns to his seat. Repeat this another two times and the movie finally continues. The pilots are killed and their bodies are dragged about. Some flight attendant (You don't learn her name, and you won't care anyways) sees the bodies and runs to the back of the plane. The passengers then talk about what happened for seven minutes. The passenger's catchphrase for the rest of the movie is, "Oh no, (insert event) happened."

While this is occurring, some people who I assume are from the FAA (I didn't notice, as I was on the verge of taking a nap) are talking about other planes that seem to be acting strangely. We get a brief glimpse of the plane hitting the world trade center. I use the term "plane" very, very loosely as the effect work is terrible. It looks like something a person who couldn't even turn on a computer could make. The explosion doesn't even look good, and in a film about a national tragedy involving planes exploding, this is inexcusable. The FAA people's catchphrase for the rest of the movie is, "Where are the terrorists? We found the terrorists! Where are the terrorists?"

And to round out the cast of people you won't enjoy watching, we have the military. They basically get nothing done, and out of the three, these are the people who you will care for the least. They spend the greater half of the movie trying to decipher messages that are obviously cries for help. The army's catchphrase for the rest of the movie is, "Where is our support?"

You may have noticed that earlier in the review, I stated how repetitive the movie was. This is especially prevalent in the passenger scenes. Whenever an event happens, not a single one of them can shut up about it until it has been repeated 10 times. There is a point in the movie in which one of the terrorists stabs one of the passengers. The other passengers cower in fear, repeat "HE GOT STABBED!" 10 times, and the movie continues with its "plot". The terrorists ask for the man they just stabbed to be healed by a doctor on the plane. Then, once the doctor is finished, the terrorists immediately stab the man again. Why? No reason. There really isn't one. I tried for 15 minutes to figure out why they stabbed him, and I couldn't find it. The passengers were already cowering in fear, so it wasn't to intimidate the people. The man wasn't starting an uprising, because he was lying in a pool of his own blood. The only possible explanation for it was that the director got bored and decided to put a random violent image in the movie in order to stir people from their slumber. The FAA people try to prevent any further hijackings, but all they wind up doing is adding to the monotony by repeatedly switching between whether or not a plane is hijacked. The Army performs pretty much the exact same function as the FAA, except that they have some minor power.

The final minutes of the movie are when it actually gets somewhat interesting. The FAA and Army are, needless to say at this point, not involved very closely in the final sequence. The passengers finally fight back against the terrorists. They storm to the front of the plane, killing two of the terrorists along the way. When they reach the front of the plane, the plane finally crashes. Of course, before the 5 minutes pre-epilogue, there is another, possibly the most boring of them all, passenger repetition scene. This is actually somewhat sad, seeing as how it could have been fine if they had only done two or three. But they have five or even more (once again, almost asleep) calls made, which is just plain unnecessary considering that almost all of the calls are, "I love you, tell my family I love them."

This is a movie that is physically and emotionally painful to watch. It's awful in every respect. Only the last 5 minutes are any good, and then the epilogue of course repeats what we just saw... yet again. I'm told by some of my friends that I'll grow to like it later on in life, but I'm not enough of a masochist to sit through this intensely boring piece of garbage again.
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Shaky camera!
Cocohoon30 April 2006
I understand that directors today feel that a shaky hand-camera makes the viewer feel more "in the action" and it allows for action to be more frantic. Now, me, personally i like to actually see whats going on in a scene of a movie, and the frantic shaking and close-ups wildly bouncing on the screen is just too much, i left this movie with a headache, and a worse impression than i probably would've had. Others that suffered the shakiness were Batman Begins, The Bourne Supremacy, and the Fast and the Furious. I feel filmmakers are just beginning to get lazy or obsessed with this new fad. What happened to actually watching the action instead of watching a blur.
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Really Good
clasperc21 April 2006
I saw it and thought it was really good, you could get the feel of the tension and the emotions running the the passengers and their families, i would highly recommend it to anyone who wants the truth about what happened on the fourth plane that day in 2001. All the actors did extremely well in understanding what the characters felt and how they reacted, i thought it was also very sad, because you know their fate, and you know whats going to happen to them as they ask their families whether to try and take the plane or not. This film will put everything in perspective about the way the passengers felt and how they reacted, how they got together and formed a plan to try and stop the pilot from flying to and into its destination.
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If you're looking for the truth...
rogerkynarderickson19 February 2010
Don't waste your time with this propaganda -- if you're seeking the truth, this film will bring you much closer: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8260059923762628848 The evidence is irrefutable, and all the governmental attempts to suppress the truth are laid bare for all to see. Common sense isn't even in the equation if you buy the 'official' story of 9/11. Of course $$$ speaks much louder than the value of human life. Everyone should boycott this misleading brainwash, as it insidiously seeks to cloud our minds and dull our powers of reasoning by plucking at our heartstrings. 9/11 set the stage for a United Police State of America, rationalized by the imaginary 'urgent need for greater security.' Say goodbye to every freedom we've taken for granted our whole lives as the Constitution is rewritten 'for our own good.' Who knew Orwell would be so on target?
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Air Sickness
kenjha17 January 2010
Most of this atrocious film is devoted to air traffic controllers babbling on endlessly about possible hijackings. This is inter-cut with closeups of flight monitoring instrumentation. It's meant to convey urgency but it induces boredom and nausea. It's amazing that Greengrass was Oscar nominated for this as it is one of the most incompetent directorial efforts in recent memory. His shaky, hand-held camera is extremely distracting, making it difficult to focus on the film. Not only that, but he favors extreme closeups and whiplash-inducing camera movements that serve to make the action confusing. Somebody please take this hack's camera away. The 9/11 victims deserve better.
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