For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Should've Won The Oscar

United 93 (Two-Disc Special Edition) ****

United 93 is not glamorous. It is not laced with conspiracy theories. It is not laden with Hollywood stars. It is not political. It has no fluff or sentiment.

United 93 is real or as real as a Hollywood docudrama can be. It honors the passengers and crew by telling the story as it happened, based upon phone calls made by them to loved ones. It also shows both the shock and frustration of those on the ground trying to make sense of what was unfolding on that fateful day. Several who were actually there on the ground, either at Boston’s Logan Airport or Washington D.C., played themselves. The rest are played by professional actors, the faces of some you might recognize. But most you won’t.

Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy, which impressed me, has outdone himself with this picture. The pace starts out slowly and increases at a natural rate as each event transpires. We see through the eyes of the air traffic controllers in Boston and New York, as well as the crew at Norad, the events, as they happened, starting with the realization that planes have been hijacked in mid air. We also see their frustration with their own blindness at what was occurring. Planes disappeared off the radar screen with no explanation, except for very brief radio signals of people screaming or foreign languages being uttered. It was all truly symbolic of our intelligence agencies not being able (being allowed in their case) to exchange information with each other. Eventually CNN was shown on their big screens and they saw the results of the terrorists’ plans, first one World Trade Center tower hit, then another, etc… The passengers aboard United 93 had the benefit of airplane phones to get their news of what was happening, and accurately assessed that their hijackers were on a suicide mission. It’s hard to watch, yet you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat as the pace quickens. You’ll constantly ask yourself what you would’ve done in their shoes. And then you’ll see how the best laid plans can be foiled by staunch opposition. I’m not only talking about the terrorists’ plans. For a very brief spark of a moment you might just think the passengers can come out okay (blame it on suspension of disbelief). But you've read the newspapers...

We are reminded that we were all very slow to realize to what was happening that day (until the 2nd tower was hit). And if you look closely at this film you will see why. We were not awake to the plans of terrorists to use planes as missiles, though C.I.A. director, George Tenet, had publicly suggested a few years before that this was a possibility. It was not until the fourth plane was hijacked that day that people realized what they had to do. Flight 77 had passengers who had spoken to people on airplane phones, and should’ve been aware of the twin towers being hit before their own flight crashed into the Pentagon. But it wasn’t until the fourth plane was hijacked that the passengers took charge. Since then our government has acted quickly to stop attacks in both the planning and execution stages as recent events have shown. Even passengers like those aboard the flight with Richard Reid acted quickly to pounce on him before he could light his shoe-bomb. So it’s rather difficult to watch the reenactment of people in key positions ever so slowly come around to believing that our own planes were being used as missiles against our country.

It was all so overwhelming that day. But it woke us up. Many of us who had been spiritually sleep-walking through life suddenly found reasons to dust off the Bible and return to church, reigniting a fire for Christ. Others sought refuge in Harry Potter movies or other forms of escapism. Either way, the country suddenly became united for a time. I wonder when our enemies will be stupid enough to unite us again. I hear they’re trying.


Kevin said...

Very well done movie! As with The Passion, you can't savor and enjoy the taste of your box of Jujyfruits while you watch it. The two movies bring me to tears, as do those that depict actual loss and suffering.

Ray said...

Good Movie that I've watched a couple of times. Good review of it here. PS I see you link to my blog and my policy is to link to those that do, therefore I've added you to my Daily Reads. Thanks

Matt K Cassens said...