United 93: Ryan’s Review

by Ryan on April 30, 2006

in Anything Else

The movie I’d been anticipating for months finally arrived and I had to see it opening weekend while a percentage of the proceeds still went to the memorial. So I hopped on NJ Transit to NYC–the place where I thought I needed to see United 93.

Twenty minutes passed as I sat, motionless, at Newark Penn Station on my way to see Mike in New York City. The train had stopped. A brush fire near Secaucus diverted my stop at NY Penn by an “indeterminate” amount of time. My only alternative was to take another route quickly–movies fill up fast in NYC. Because of my location, however, I had to take the PATH, which coincidentally let us off at Ground Zero.

It was the first time I had ever seen the emptiness up close, the passer’s-by reading the signs and plaques with a kind of quasi-religous awe, and the odd feeling of loss and wonder that permeated the entire area. I stood in a place that changed America on my way to see a movie about that very day. I knew I was in the right place.

After stopping by TWO theaters that did NOT carry United 93, Mike had to call 411 and a nice lady directed us to a theater nearby that DID show the film. I know it’s New York, and I know people are sensitive and stuff, but after having seen the film I am sorely disappointed by their choice to boycott this film.

The film opens in a hotel room. The hijackers pray, shave off all excess hair (a tradition in jihad that goes back thousands of years), and anxiously prepare for their doom. It’s from that moment on that you know this film means it. I will say no more about the film itself since you know what happens and I would not want to ruin the drama that takes us to that point. What I can say is that it was not “Hollywood” at all– the people were ordinary, real. From the people on the plane to the air-traffic controllers to the terrorists themselves, you feel that this docudrama’s authenticity, like The Passion, is going to move you.

Some have said that this is the best movie they’ll never see again. I will see this film again. I’ll buy it on DVD. I’ll tell all within my voice and keyboard to see the film–not for any political engrandizement, but for your soul. The world in which we live was shaped by that day and this film pays a respectful and powerful hommage to it. See it. Also, I’d love it if you shared with your thoughts on the film, too– what you thought, why you saw it, or why you won’t see it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

rightonoz April 30, 2006 at 8:03 pm

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for the post.

I will make a point to see it when it opens down here.

Certainly from the news I had seen and your comments, I am happy that there were no ‘stars’, that it seems to be from your post a homage to the brave souls who took a stand, knowing the probable outcome.

Like you I am sad that some seem to be against the film, especially given that the families were consulted and gave their blessing.

In a time when there is so much negative in life it pays to always remember ordinary people who have the strength to take a stand and sacrifice for others. I hope we would all have the strength to take the action they did.


Ryan May 3, 2006 at 11:45 am

Actually, I have heard from a number of people at work that will NOT see the movie.

The general consensus is that they say that they don’t like people making money off other people’s tragedy.

I responded that 9/11 is history. Plenty of WWII movies came out in World War II. Audie Murphy actually played himself in some films, like many of United 93′s air traffic controllers. (Check the credits and see how many of them played “himself”!)

However, it’s tough out here, so I obviously let them speak their peace. About 1000 people who died on 9/11 were from New Jersey, including some of the parents of students in my school who have since graduated. Our attendance supervisor used to work for the Port Authority and personally knew dozens of rescuers who did not make it out of the Towers.


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