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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.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; US: New York
KEYWORDS: 911movie; moviereview; oliverstone; worldtradecenter
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1 posted on 08/05/2006 8:04:55 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin; potlatch; ntnychik; Smartass; Boazo; Alamo-Girl; PhilDragoo; The Spirit Of Allegiance; ...

huh!

ping ....I have seen differing accounts....


2 posted on 08/05/2006 8:07:50 AM PDT by bitt ("And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.")
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To: Valin; All
If you have not yet seen the trailer, go here.
3 posted on 08/05/2006 8:08:55 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: bitt

this article brought me to another....

Terror attacks brought drastic decision: Clear the skies
By Alan Levin, Marilyn Adams and Blake Morrison, USA TODAY


http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002-08-12-clearskies_x.htm


4 posted on 08/05/2006 8:10:51 AM PDT by bitt ("And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.")
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To: bitt

..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....


5 posted on 08/05/2006 8:11:22 AM PDT by NorCalRepub
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To: Drew68

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.


6 posted on 08/05/2006 8:13:13 AM PDT by never4get (I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To......)
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To: NorCalRepub
except those that don't want to give a dime to Oliver Stone that I heard from on the last thread about this....

Let those people wallow in their righteous indignation.

I will see this film on opening weekend.

7 posted on 08/05/2006 8:13:23 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: Valin

God can move in unknown ways. With all the lies Stone has uncovered the truth has to stand out as one ages.


8 posted on 08/05/2006 8:14:12 AM PDT by BikerGold (Blogs Are Destroying Christian/Conservatives)
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To: Valin
Amidst the carnage, Karnes hooked up with another man, Sgt. Jason Thomas

They had to throw in the gay angle... /sarcasm

9 posted on 08/05/2006 8:15:26 AM PDT by GeronL (http://www.mises.org/story/1975 <--no such thing as a fairtax)
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To: Valin
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
10 posted on 08/05/2006 8:15:50 AM PDT by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL ( **Hunter-Tancredo-Weldon-Hayworth 4 President** I get it, Glenn.)
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To: never4get

Heh! Yeah. Right before they told all of the JOOS to stay home from work that day.

/sarc


11 posted on 08/05/2006 8:16:49 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
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To: never4get
He (Michael Moore) is probably filming the rebuttal, the one where the American government blew up the towers.

Ironically, that's the film I was expecting Stone to make!

12 posted on 08/05/2006 8:17:25 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: Drew68

..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


13 posted on 08/05/2006 8:18:10 AM PDT by NorCalRepub
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To: never4get

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


14 posted on 08/05/2006 8:21:07 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: RandallFlagg

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....


15 posted on 08/05/2006 8:22:28 AM PDT by never4get (I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To......)
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To: NorCalRepub

good. then I will go see it ASAP.

that moment in time is my focus for the future.


16 posted on 08/05/2006 8:28:00 AM PDT by bitt ("And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.")
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To: NorCalRepub
sometimes I think some FReepers hate as much as a Daily Kos'er

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!

17 posted on 08/05/2006 8:29:31 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: bitt

second part of the article "Clear the Skies"...


http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002-08-12-hijacker-daytwo_x.htm


18 posted on 08/05/2006 8:31:42 AM PDT by bitt ("And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.")
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To: Drew68

The movie's trailer is awesome.


19 posted on 08/05/2006 8:47:13 AM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: Valin
There were three stories from 9/11 which needed to be told.

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.

20 posted on 08/05/2006 8:51:18 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Drew68; Valin; never4get
He (Michael Moore) is probably filming the rebuttal, the one where the American government blew up the towers.

Someone already did. Go to this thread.

21 posted on 08/05/2006 8:52:27 AM PDT by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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To: NorCalRepub

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.


22 posted on 08/05/2006 8:59:44 AM PDT by AmishDude (The Constitution: It ain't long, it ain't complicated and it don't take a genius to figure it out.)
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To: Valin

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.


23 posted on 08/05/2006 9:04:20 AM PDT by Swiss
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To: NorCalRepub
IMO it doesn't make much sense to punish someone for good behavior. Punish for the bad. That is how you teach life lessons.

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.

24 posted on 08/05/2006 9:16:42 AM PDT by Condor 63
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To: Valin

Not...one...penny to that self-hating, anti-American *sshole.


25 posted on 08/05/2006 9:23:33 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: pabianice

See rely 24.


26 posted on 08/05/2006 9:27:36 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin

I will never trust the communist stone with my time or money.


27 posted on 08/05/2006 9:28:34 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
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To: pabianice
Not...one...penny to that self-hating, anti-American *sshole.

Word.

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.

28 posted on 08/05/2006 10:08:30 AM PDT by MaestroLC ("Let him who wants peace prepare for war."--Vegetius, A.D. Forth Century)
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To: Valin

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.


29 posted on 08/05/2006 10:50:46 AM PDT by Bogtrotter52 (Reading DU daily so you won't hafta)
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To: MaestroLC; ChadGore

See reply 24


30 posted on 08/05/2006 11:35:13 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: bitt

Thanks for the link


31 posted on 08/05/2006 11:39:08 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: MaestroLC; pabianice; ChadGore

Oliver Stone's 'World Trade Center: A Masterpiece



http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_27267212.shtml
By L. Brent Bozell III
Jul 21, 2006

"You kept me alive!"

I wasn't skeptical when I was invited to a private screening of Oliver Stone's upcoming "World Trade Center" movie. I was downright cynical. As a conservative I've long considered so much of his work the bane of my existence. From "Platoon" to "Salvador" to "Born on the Fourth of July" to "JFK," and let's not forget last year's ghastly "Alexander," Stone has delivered one left-wing screed after another, specifically intended, I'm convinced, to bring my blood to the boiling point. When I learned a few months ago that he was working on a project about 9/11, I fully expected another tiresome, loathsome Bush-lied-thousands-died production designed to titillate the Michael Moore left-wing fringe.

(snip)

Add some awesome special effects -- ever wondered what it must sound, look and even feel like having a 110-story building come crashing down on you? -- and you'd have a box-office hit.

But Stone chose to dig deeper. Most of the movie focuses on the two policemen, McLoughlin and Will Jimeno (played by Michael Pena, and here let's also recognize the heart-wrenching performance of Maggie Gyllenhaal as his wife, Allison), pinned under the devastation, with only their dusty faces partially visible, talking to each other, using their voices and their words as the only instruments available in their darkened tomb to keep each other alive, as their crushed bodies slowly seek surrender from the physical agony of countless injuries.

What keeps them alive are the very footers of civilized society that our cynical, enlightened popular culture is seemingly so desperate to discard: fraternal love, devotion to family, allegiance to country and faith in God. Each element is powerfully developed, not just in the officers' dialogue, but also in the cutaways to the battered co-workers and the two anguished families anxiously praying for a miracle, in the quiet resolve of the former Marine who dons his uniform and enters Ground Zero, ultimately to make the discovery, and most poignantly in Jimeno's visions as he teeters on the brink of death. A Catholic, Jimeno sees not an ambiguous Hollywood representation of a higher power, but the sacred heart of Jesus. It is -- this being a true story, it was -- these values that kept these two heroic policemen tethered to life.



Of course we all know that Brent Bozell is nothing but a shill for the left, so we can safely ignore anything he has to say about this movie.


32 posted on 08/05/2006 12:17:33 PM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Drew68

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...


33 posted on 08/05/2006 12:20:36 PM PDT by NorCalRepub
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To: AmishDude

...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...


34 posted on 08/05/2006 12:24:15 PM PDT by NorCalRepub
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To: Condor 63

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


35 posted on 08/05/2006 12:27:40 PM PDT by NorCalRepub
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To: bitt

     
Support the war on terror


 

36 posted on 08/05/2006 12:41:21 PM PDT by Smartass ("In God We Trust" - "An informed and knowledgeably citizen is the best defense against tyranny")
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To: IronJack

' 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....


37 posted on 08/05/2006 1:06:16 PM PDT by bitt ("And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.")
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To: Valin

It's been getting great reviews.


38 posted on 08/05/2006 1:51:33 PM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: bitt

I haven't read much about it but I love Nicholas Cage.


39 posted on 08/05/2006 1:53:09 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: bitt
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....

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.

40 posted on 08/05/2006 2:45:15 PM PDT by Drew68
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To: Valin
There were three stories from 9/11 which needed to be told.

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?

41 posted on 08/05/2006 2:49:41 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: Valin

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.


42 posted on 08/05/2006 2:52:56 PM PDT by Hildy
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To: IronJack

Then go make your own freakin film.


43 posted on 08/05/2006 2:54:48 PM PDT by Hildy
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To: Hildy
He didn't really shine...but he's carved himself quite a career.


I think a lot of times it's desire to succeed more than talent (no flame intended) I also think this explains why so many in hollywood get involved in "Causes" guilt over making it when there were some that were better than they who didn't succeed.
44 posted on 08/05/2006 3:06:20 PM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin
Jesus could come to my home and give it a positive review, I am NEVER going to go. Oliver Stone, et. al., is not getting my $$$.

If others want to go, that is their privilege. Enjoy it.

45 posted on 08/05/2006 3:10:37 PM PDT by MaestroLC ("Let him who wants peace prepare for war."--Vegetius, A.D. Forth Century)
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To: Valin

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!


46 posted on 08/05/2006 3:24:10 PM PDT by Hildy
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To: Hildy
Then go make your own freakin film.

What's your problem???

Kiss my freakin' butt.

47 posted on 08/05/2006 3:35:40 PM PDT by IronJack
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To: Valin

I'm seeing this one at the first possible opportunity.


48 posted on 08/05/2006 3:37:28 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: Valin

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.


49 posted on 08/05/2006 3:40:47 PM PDT by wtc911 (You can't get there from here)
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To: IronJack

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.


50 posted on 08/05/2006 3:43:25 PM PDT by Hildy (To save us both time, assume I know everything...)
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