United 93 Paul Greengrass

The worth of a film depicting the events of September 11, 2001 is really something the public will have difficulty deciding. Though tragic retellings of horrific events are always adapted for the big screen, in North America there’s hardly ever been one as haunting as that one day. We all expected it to come eventually, and some may argue that it’s still too soon for such a film, but director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) has made a 9/11 film that handles the tragedy with kid gloves and the utmost respect for the victims. Shot as an accurate and objective, real life telling of the new millennium’s most haunting day, United 93 recaps the hours from the moment the terrorists awoke to the plane’s dramatic crash. The near-real time pace sets up an intense build-up, which even when it reaches the expected climax accordingly, never loses its control and influence over the viewing. The use of unknown but convincing actors was a wise decision, keeping the attention on who could very well be the persons who were there living through this (though TV junkies may find the lead from ’80s cop sitcom Sledgehammer to be mildly distracting). As well the narrative told through the perspectives of air traffic controllers, the military and those onboard, provides credible sensation that reaches some upsetting levels as everything feels 100 percent genuine, unfolding exactly as we could imagine it did. We most often want to put reality on hold and escape for 90 or so minutes when we go to the cinema, and thankfully United 93 isn’t one of these moments. It’s frighteningly valid, genuine drama puts us there as a fly on the wall, watching the human emotion struggle to comprehend what happened on that day in 2001. Whether people need to relive the event and see this film is the real question, but United 93 has the power to affect those who do feel that need. (Universal)