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World Trade Center
Oliver Stone's 9/11 movie is filled with . . . religious symbolism.
The Weekly Standard ^ | 8/4/06 | Jonathan V. Last
Posted on 08/05/2006 8:04:53 AM PDT by Valin
IT IS DIFFICULT, maybe even impossible, to render critical judgment on a movie such as World Trade Center. The normal aspects of appraisal are meaningless. It would be absurd to measure the film by its pacing or its cinematography. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is whether or not it feels right, and even that nebulous criterion probably has more to do with the viewer than the movie.
All of that said, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center is a solid piece of filmmaking. WTC is an important movie. There were three stories from 9/11 which needed to be told. The first, about the doomed heroics of Flight 93, was brought to the screen by Paul Greengrass earlier this spring. The second, about the FAA's struggle to clear the skies and land 4,452 planes in 180 minutes, has yet to be made.
But Stone has picked the most dramatically satisfying part of the triptych: The story of Will Jimeno, John McLoughlin, Dave Karnes, and Charles Sereika (see this fantastic Rebecca Liss piece for the full tale).
Jimeno (played by Michael Peña) and McLoughlin (Nicholas Cage) were Port Authority officers who went into the Trade Center to help with the evacuation. When the first building collapsed, they were pinned down and buried in an elevator shaft.
Karnes (Michael Shannon) was a retired Marine working as an accountant in Connecticut. When he saw the news on the television at his office, he left, went to a barber for a buzzcut, put on his old uniform, and drove straight to Ground Zero, where he headed out onto the pile, searching for survivors. Authorities were calling the official workers back because night was falling and the area was unsafe.
Amidst the carnage, Karnes hooked up with another man, Sgt. Jason Thomas (William Mapother), and the two roamed Ground Zero, shouting, over and over, "United States Marines, if you can hear us, yell or tap!" After an hour, they heard something: Jimeno and McLoughlin, still alive under 20 feet of rubble.
Thomas went for backup, which arrived in the form of Charles Sereika (Frank Whaley), a recovering alcoholic and a former paramedic, who had also put on an old uniform and come to the crater to help. Sereika, Karnes, and then others, dug for hours to rescue Jimeno and McLoughlin.
Stone tells the story with confidence and an astonishing degree of empathy. The biggest inherent danger in Andrea Berloff's script is that, in the wrong hands, it could become movie-of-the-week material. Stone avoids that. He also avoids the temptation to indulge in show-off directorial virtuosity: There is one long pull-back shot which is designed to awe, but the rest of the time Stone sits quietly in the background letting the story, not the telling, take center stage.
WHEN PARAMOUNT ANNOUNCED that it had signed Oliver Stone to direct World Trade Center, there was concern in some conservative quarters that he would produce a movie laden with conspiracy theories or moral equivalence or some other political defects. But, if anything, the only criticism which Stone could be open to with WTC is that he's too sentimental, that he feels the material too deeply. He lacks the clinical dispassion Greengrass brought to United 93. Some audiences may see this as a failing; I suspect most will not.
That Stone was able to make a steady, emotionally fulfilling movie from this amazing source material should come as little surprise to those familiar with his work. But what is surprising--astonishing, even--is that Stone has made a full-blown Jesus movie. World Trade Center is filled with Christianity. Karnes goes to church to pray before heading to Manhattan and Stone focuses for long stretches of this scene on the cross above the altar. There are crucifixes and rosaries everywhere. McLoughlin's emergence from the pit is shot as though it were the resurrection. Christ even appears in the film, twice. And all of this is handled not with condescension or even with a distant respectfulness, but with actual reverence. If Mel Gibson's name was on World Trade Center, the left would be up in arms.
It's unclear how audiences will react to World Trade Center. It is a frightening and wrenching film. But at the end of the day, it feels right.
Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.
ping ....I have seen differing accounts....
this article brought me to another....
Terror attacks brought drastic decision: Clear the skies
By Alan Levin, Marilyn Adams and Blake Morrison, USA TODAY
..every conservative I've heard loved the movie....from Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt and even Brent Bozell....damn, if he loved it...then you know it is good since his Media Research Center would massacre anything remotely liberal and bias....I think this actually is a wonderful film and should be seen.....except those that don't want to give a dime to Oliver Stone that I heard from on the last thread about this....
I dobt Michael "pig-fat-vomit" Moore will not be seeing this movie anytime soon. He is probably filming the rebuttal, the one where the American government blew up the towers.
Let those people wallow in their righteous indignation.
I will see this film on opening weekend.
God can move in unknown ways. With all the lies Stone has uncovered the truth has to stand out as one ages.
They had to throw in the gay angle... /sarcasm
Heh! Yeah. Right before they told all of the JOOS to stay home from work that day.
Ironically, that's the film I was expecting Stone to make!
..yeah .....really...sometimes I think some FReepers hate as much as a Daily Kos'er.....I"m sure if they were drowning they wouldn't grab a life prserver if was thrown to them by a liberal.....that is ludicrous ....I will see the film cause of it's merits...period
He is probably filming the rebuttal, the one where the American government blew up the towers.
You mean they didn't?
The above comment has received the seal of approval from the American Sarcatic Society
Actually, I am quite surprised that Oliver did not take liberties and change all the responding officers and fireman to Muslims, and change the Terrorists to white christian males...I guess I have to wait for Michael "pig-fat-vomit" Moore's movie....
good. then I will go see it ASAP.
that moment in time is my focus for the future.
It's funny. People here are often critical of Hollywood and the likes of Stone for pandering to the left. When Stone makes a film that might appeal to "Flyover Country" he is still grilled over the coals!
The guy can't win to lose around here! LOL!
second part of the article "Clear the Skies"...
The movie's trailer is awesome.
There are about 3,500 stories that need to be told. And that doesn't include the tragedies that go on daily for the survivors. But the most important story to come out of this is the story of Islam's savagery, the pure animal hatred spawned by the vermin who profess that religion. The tale must be told of how somehow, by some perverted stretch of rhetoric and sociopathology, a group of "disciples" were convinced to murder 3,500 innocent people in a virtual instant. We have to understand that a monster dwells among us, and that it stalks us from the shadows. We also have to understand that it will never go away, and that none of us is safe as long as it lives.
THAT is the lesson of 9/11. If that message comes through, then the film worked. If not, then it's commercial fluff.
After Alexander the Flop (and other disasters), Stone had to prove to Hollywood that he can play ball with a big budget. He did what was asked of him, what the producers want, and he will go back into the fold again.
9/11 itself was filled with religious symbolism. The photo of the firefighters carrying their dead priest from the ruins reminded me of some of the paintings of Christ's followers carrying his body off the cross. The makeshift cross from the building remains to stories about some little nearby church damaged but still remaining all had religious symbolism.
Any movie about 9/11 without reference to God wouldn't of been complete.
If this is the quality (and fair) movie so many have claimed it to be, then it deserves support - if nothing else to send a message to Hollyweird that this is what the public wants to see.
Not...one...penny to that self-hating, anti-American *sshole.
See rely 24.
I will never trust the communist stone with my time or money.
I will not see this film. Ever.
Nick Cage...Maggie Gyllenhaal...Oliver Stone... I have no time to line their anti-American pockets with my money. They can shove their movie up their backsides.
Any movie that serves to remind us of the horror of that day is a good thing in my view. I have a CBS NEWS dvd called What We Saw that I try to look at every month or so just to keep me pissed off. The images are powerful & gut wrenching and everyone should see them again and again and again. And the more graphic the images the better.
See reply 24
Thanks for the link
Oliver Stone's 'World Trade Center: A Masterpiece
I agree.....I dismiss the Dems and libs as much as anyone...but if someone does something that adhers to our values...then we should embrace the act at least....grilling the guy just embeds the hatred and then we never get anywhere....I wish some her would not be that shallow...
...well there you go.....we finally agree on something... I don't think Stone has changed his spots...but I credit or admonish behavior...in this case...I'll give him credit...
you are exactly right.....I have a grad degree in Psych which I don't use but it doesn't take that to know to admonish poor behavior and reward good behavior....that is the only way to effect change if needed....otherwise the divisiveness just gets bigger
Support the war on terror
' a group of "disciples" were convinced to murder 3,500 innocent people in a virtual instant. '
even worse, they were hoping that potentially 25,0000 would be in the buildings to be killed....could there not have been 50,000 in the two towers, I forget the total numbers that could have been affected....
It's been getting great reviews.
I haven't read much about it but I love Nicholas Cage.
If 9/11 had happened an hour later the terrorists would have gotten the numbers they were hoping for. A lot of people hadn't even arrived for work yet.
What the hey? There are plenty of stories from 9/11 which need to be told.
Also, is William Mapother any relation to Tom Cruise?
Apropos to nothing, I went to College with Frank Whaley. We were in the drama Dept. He didn't really shine...but he's carved himself quite a career.
Then go make your own freakin film.
If others want to go, that is their privilege. Enjoy it.
He was very quiet. In fact, he had an older brother who was also in the theater Dept. I would have put my money on him!!!! Frank doesn't have classic good looks..he's kind of a scrawny guy. But he's a good actor. My favorite role was in FIELD OF DREAMS..he was the one they pick up hitchhiking who turns out to be the young Burt Lancaster character! Also his small role in PULP FICTION....he gets blown away, but he was great!
What's your problem???
Kiss my freakin' butt.
I'm seeing this one at the first possible opportunity.
We got to GZ @ two hours after these Officers were pulled out. I was reminded of the expression. "This ain't hell...but you can see it from here". Still haven't decided if we'll see it.
Every movie take a point of view....this film was about the human tragedy...it was about the human spirit. NOT EVERY 9/11 movie has to be an anti-Islam dissertation. That's what you said. So I said, MAKE YOUR OWN FREAKIN FILM. I see nothing insulting about that. Sorry if you did.
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