Many reviewers are calling United 93 an empty vessel. They say that its documentarian, "you are there"-style renders it neutral, renders it bereft of anything to say about September 11th. That ultimately, what you take out of the movie is what you brought into it, i.e. your current, circa 2006 opinion of the events of that day, and everything that's happened since then-- the wars, the politics, etc.
I think that conclusion is largely true, as Greengrass just gives us the events of that day and nothing else, no framing devices to put us on a side of the debate.
That said, how anyone can watch United 93 and walk away from it without the realization that September 11th was a declaration of war against not just the United States, but every American-- how anyone can do that escapes me. You want to spend all your time arguing the details about how best to fight back against these evil men, that's all fine and good. United 93 shows us that at least for the passengers and crew of one plane, there was no time for a parlor debate, there was no time to anguish over deliberations, there was no time for "nuance" and equivocation. They were attacked, they fought back, they died. . . and they certainly saved countless others from a fate similar to those in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
They were heroes, they are heroes, and hopefully enough people see United 93 to remember and honor who these people were.
United 93 is the best movie of 2006 so far, and I can't fathom how any film this year can be more powerful than this one.
Seriously, This Movie Is A Punch In The Gut: Think of the movie that made an emotional wreck of you the most-- Schindler's List, Old Yeller, Love Story, whatever.
Multiply that by ten. Then another ten.
The grind begins at the very beginning of the film. I was shaking my legs for a long part of it in nervous anticipation. Once the planes start getting hijacked, things started getting worse for me.
Then they cut to the CNN footage of the Pentagon smoking.
It hit me-- I was in that building on September 7th, 2001. I'm returning to work in that building on Monday.
Then, the passengers of Flight 93 began their phone calls to make their goodbyes. It took everything I had in me to keep from losing it then.
I won't lie to you-- United 93 is the toughest film I've ever sat through, tougher than anything.
But it was worth it.
Okay. But I don't want to see a punch-in-the-gut movie. I had enough of that watching Saving Private Ryan, thank-you-very-much, I know we're at war, that there are people who would, for the promise of paradise, kill me and mine and not think twice.
But I want to cast my economic vote for movies like this. Hollywood just does not make enough movies like this. What to do ..
I am ... thinking seriously about walking up to the box office, buying my ticket, and going home. I’m thinking very seriously about that indeed.Good idea, Jeff.