Tuesday 17th November 2009

World Trade Center

Director: Oliver Stone
Year: 2006
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Maria Bello, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal

It had been my intention to watch lots of films this week, as I had the week off work. Unfortunately, things haven't quite worked out that way - there are just so many things to do! However, I did manage one film on Tuesday morning. It's only Thursday too, so maybe I'll fit in a couple more before I go back to work on Monday?

This was better than I expected it to be. I recorded it off of TV a while ago, and it had been left to get watched at some time in the future - partly because it was long (over 2 and a half hours) and partly because I wasn't sure how much I really cared about seeing it. When it was originally released I had been quite interested in watching it, but the myriad of reviews of it at the time I'd read had seemed quite disappointed with it, and this put me off a little.

Turns out it was actually fairly good. If you hadn't guessed, the movie tells the story of 9/11 - following a group of Port Authority policemen as they enter the World Trade Center, not really knowing what to expect or how to deal with it. I think a number of reviewers were disappointed that Stone made it a "straight" film, simply telling the story of 9/11. However, I don't think this is too surprising. What did they expect from an American director? I don't think it's necessarily wrong either. 9/11 is simply too recent for us to say anything too political about it - whilst Stone hints at the unorganised chaos of the rescue plans, nobody will (or should) say the rescue authorities didn't do everything they could to help.

The film is emotionally engaging, and I certainly cared a lot about the people being portrayed, becoming more and more involved. Stone shows us the whole day of 9/11, from people waking up to the amazing rescue efforts. The two and a half + hours went by very fast for me. My only minor complaint is that the information we got at the end, about how many people died and were rescued, went too fast - not giving me enough time to think about and assimilate the information. Considering how much I had started to care about the people in the film, I wanted a little more time for reflection before blasted with credits.

It's a very different movie to Greengrass' United 93 (also excellent and incredibly thought-provoking), but no less of a film for it. Both are excellent reflections on different aspects of 9/11.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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About Me

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.