Sunday, April 09, 2006

'Bloody Sunday' Director Takes On 9/11 Story

In his latest film, writer and director Paul Greengrass, who directed the widely heralded film “Bloody Sunday,” has taken on the retelling of part of the story of 9/11. His new film, “United 93” presents the story of Flight 93 to viewers in real time, and comes to theaters around the United States on April 28.

There is no question that the story of that flight is compelling. Last year, the official 9/11 Commission report stated that the hijackers crashed the plane in a field near Shanksville, in rural western Pennsylvania, as passengers tried to wrest control of the cockpit. The passengers had learned from mobile phone conversations that hijackers had earlier crashed jets into both towers of the World Trade Center, and clearly reckoned the grim possibilities ahead. Many speculate that Flight 93's hijackers planned to attack a target in Washington, perhaps the White House or the Capital.

As dramatic as this story is, there are some, especially in the New York area, who think it too soon to portray these events. The Long Island-based newspaper Newsday reported that the AMC Loews Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side pulled the trailer from its screening after receiving several complaints, including one from a woman who was brought to tears.

Others disagree, however, and feel it time to dramatize the story of the final hours of the doomed passengers and crew and bring it to mass audiences, the better to honor them, and understand their struggle and the dangers that we still face from terrorists. Among the film's supporters are the families of the victims. Greengrass obtained the approval of the families of all 40 of the victims who died on Flight 93, and many of them were interviewed to help with the production. Universal Pictures, the film's distributor, will donate 10 percent of the first three days' grosses to a fund to build a memorial for those slain in the hijacking.

Coming in late summer is Oliver Stone’s film, titled "World Trade Center," which centers on the firefighters who responded to the 9/11 attacks. It stars Nicholas Cage. -- Joseph E. Gannon


o The Official "United 93" Film Web Site
o International Movie Data Base on "United 93"
o Flight 93 National Memorial
o WGT's Reviews of Two "Bloody Sunday" Films
o A Dark Day Revisited
o Dreams and Myths: Hollywood and 9/11

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