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United 93
2006 - R - 105 Mins.
Director: Paul Greengrass, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
Producer: Paul Greengrass, Lloyd Levin
Written By: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Lewis Alsamari, JJ Johnson, Ben Sliney, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, David Alan Basche
Review by: Chris Beaumont
Official Site: www.theflight93project.com/
   

Corey Johnson, David Alan Basche, Christian Clemenson, and Cheyenne Jackson
Is it even possible to prepare yourself for something like this? It is akin to reopening a wound that was well along the healing process. That wound was ripped open and many of those memories have come back.

I am not even sure how to review a film like 'United 93.' This is the first big screen take that directly deals with the events of that fateful day. We are all familiar with the story, and this isn't so much a complete story as it is a life-altering event.

Writer/Director Paul Greengrass has done an absolutely amazing job of bringing the story of those heroes to the theater. This is no Hollywood styled action movie. There are no stars or star making performances. The actors all work with the singular focus of making this film feel as authentic as possible. I have been convinced that this is most likely the way things happened.

I went to the theater this evening with the express intent of seeing something new. 'United 93' was the movie I wanted to see. I made it into the theater and found a seat towards the front of the auditorium. The start time came, the lights went down, and something amazing happened, the movie started. What's so special about that? Well, there were no trailers. It felt appropriate for what was about to come. It made me think about the bizarre tonal shift from whatever they would have shown to the emotional rollercoaster that was about to start.

The first half of the film splits its focus between the people getting on the ill fated flight and the growing panic in the watch towers. It was a strange feeling watching those people going about their business, you know what is going to happen, who the world was about to change, they had no idea. Also, watching the increasing urgency at the various agencies showing just how unprepared we were was a little disconcerting.

The second half focuses on those on the plane. The panic growing among them contrasted with the grim determination, tempered by fear, of the terrorists. It was incredibly moving watching them slowly realize what was going on, and the calls to family members. I found it almost too much to bear.

I have not had this kind of reaction to a film since I saw 'The Passion of the Christ.' The film worked on a raw emotional level. More that that, the film felt *real*. The dialogue sounded like real life, not scripted, conversations flow over each other. This felt authentic.

Bottomline? This is a powerful experience. It was better than I had thought it would be, and it caught me completely off guard. This is a movie to see at least once. It is a tribute to those who lost their lives. The heroes of flight 93, people who gave their lives in order to save countless others.

Highly Recommended.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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