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United 93
The first film to deal directly with the events of 9/11
United 93
A Scene from the 9/11 Drama "United 93".
OPENING WEEKEND: $27,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $105,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

January 11th, 2006: This 90-minute film will unfold in real time as it recreates the events of United Flight 93, the last of the four hijacked planes on September 11, 2001, which failed to reach its intended target, the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. As the story begins at Newark airport, the passengers and crew prepare for a routine flight to San Francisco, fully unaware of the Al Quaeda cell accompanying them in first class. Due to a 45-minute delay, the flight becomes airborne as the other three hijacked airplanes crash into their targets. When the terrorists on board begin to execute their plan, news of the other attacks reaches the passengers and crew. With information gathered from 30 minutes of cockpit voice recordings and numerous phone calls, the film will meticulously recreate the events that transpired before the passengers intervened and foiled the terrorist plot, resulting in a plane crash in a field in rural Pennsylvania. As it weaves back and forth between the conflict in the air and the civilian and military air traffic controllers on the ground, the film will depict the passengers’ horrifying dilemma and ultimate sacrifice.

What to Expect: This will be the first film that will deal directly with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, whose shocking nature traumatized the American people over four years ago and still haunts us today. Other movies in the past, like 11'09''01 - September 11 (a collection of eleven short films by various directors, including Sean Penn, Mira Nair, Denis Tanovic, Ken Loach, Claude Lalouche, and Alejandro González Iñárritu), never attempted to recreate the events or to handle the subject matter so frankly. Although Flight 93 will be the first, the filmmakers are still going to explore the incident on a relatively small scale by focusing only on one flight as a representative of the whole. Oliver Stone is currently working on a much more epic 9/11 film, starring Nicholas Cage, which is scheduled for release in August.

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The writer and director of Flight 93, Paul Greengrass, is probably best known for his work on The Bourne Supremacy, the sequel to The Bourne Identity. His gritty and intense approach to the action in that film should be appropriate for the taut and gripping story of Flight 93. Greengrass has chosen a group of unknown actors as his leads, which should be a wise decision on his part. By using unrecognizable actors, he can ensure that the audience will not bring any outside expectations and sentiments towards the characters and that they can develop a true connection to them over time. Additionally, in my opinion, it is a far more honorable way of showing respect towards the victims by not taking a Hollywood approach of filling out the cast with big names like a Bruce Willis or a Tom Cruise. Clearly, by concentrating on just one story, deciding to let it unfold in real time, without major stars in the lead roles, the focus here is strictly on realism.

Flight 93 was made with the full support of the families of those on board. Shortly after the events had occurred, I remember hearing the fascinating and heartbreaking stories of those on the plane, who, after a series of phone calls to loved ones on the ground, made the ultimate decision to do whatever it takes to prevent the plane from being used as a weapon. All people on board died after the crash, but they remain great heroes to this country. Personally, I have incredible difficulty imagining what they must have gone through during the fated 90-minute flight and I’m a little afraid to find out after the depressing and disturbing emotions that I have revisited while writing this.

In Conclusion: I have confidence that the filmmakers have chosen the correct approach to this film. The tragedy that unfolded on 9/11 resulted in many victims and produced numerous heroes. By focusing on just one story, Flight 93 should be able to portray the events in a respectful manner that will honor all those whose lives were changed by the terrorist strike. Similarly, the small-scale, realistic approach should produce a faithful and honest portrayal without the pretensions of Hollywood epics. Finally, the film should serve as a poignant examination of the state of our world today with an emphasis on our actions and their consequences.

Similar Titles: Black Hawk Down, Munich
April 28th, 2006 (wide)
September 5th, 2006 (DVD)

Universal Pictures

Paul Greengrass

J. J. Johnson, Gary Commock, Polly Adams, Opal Alladin, Nancy McDoniel, Lewis Alsamari

Total: 44 vote(s).


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Rated R for language, and some intense sequences of terror and violence.

111 min






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