The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

World Trade Center

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Judy Thorburn

World Trade Center

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"WORLD TRADE CENTER: GRIPPING STORY OF TWO SURVIVORS OF 9/11!

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

When something incomprehensible makes the news and stays in the public’s minds you can expect it to be played out in a TV movie and/or a major big screen release. It was just a matter of time before a story related to the tragic events surrounding 9/11 hit the screens.

World Trade Center is the second film to be released this year having to do with some of the people who became innocent victims on that ill-fated day. Some may think it is too soon for both films since the wound still feels fresh, even after five years. But, you can also view these films as a reminder of what made this country great in the first place. It brought out the unbreakable spirit and goodness inherent in most Americans. While Paul Greengrass’s remarkable, cinema verite style filming of United 93 had a cast of mostly unrecognizable faces portraying the airline passengers who were brave enough to try and fight back the terrorist hijackers, director Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center is delivered in a traditional, straightforward way starring major Hollywood actors in the true life account of two policemen buried beneath the building’s rubble. One thing is for sure; director Oliver Stone is back on track since his last major critical and box office failure, Alexander. It may be hard to believe that Stone is at the helm, since he forgoes making any political statement, so prevalent in most of his work. Nothing is said about the terrorists or their plot. Rather the focus is on retelling the plight of two of the only twenty survivors and what they endured before being rescued.

Based on actual accounts of the survivors and their families, World Trade Center stars Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena (so wonderful in Crash) as the two Port Authority police officers who wound up being buried beneath the tons of cement and debris when the first building came crashing down. It appeared to be a routine, usual day in Manhattan, with New Yorkers going about their business, at home, at work and in the streets, when we are given a glimpse of the flying airliner as a shadow across a building. The impact is not shown, but the news of the first Tower being hit goes out quickly causing a team of Port Authority policemen, as first responders, to be sent rushing to evacuate the building. Heading the force is 21-year veteran Sgt. John McLouglin (Cage) unaware what is really happening, or that the second tower is the next target. All he knows is that he and his men have work to be done and it must be fast. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get too far. In a matter of minutes (or so it seems) sound warnings give way that the building is about to collapse. McLoughlin yells for his men to run. All are killed, except for McLoughlin and young rookie Will Jimeno who find themselves pinned, hurt and struggling to stay conscious beneath the rubble of cement, steel and debris. Hours go by, and when daylight ends, a search and rescue mission is stopped. All the trapped men can do is pray, hope for rescue, and think of their families back home.

As the story unfolds we are introduced to their families and wives, Donna McLoughlin (Maria Bello) and five month pregnant Allison Jimeno (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in flashback memories and back home as they desperately await word about the fate of their husbands. Meanwhile, as actual footage, TV news reports and reactions from around the world are interspersed into the story, a former marine living in Connecticut named Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon) believes he has received a calling from God and is personally compelled to do what he can to save some lives. After telling his church pastor his plans, he proceeds to drive from Connecticut to Ground Zero to search for survivors. Later in the film we find out cops from as far away as Wisconsin came to New York to assist in the search and rescue mission.

Director Stone and his entire filmmaking team including special effects experts, sound technicians, and set designers have done an amazing job in recreating the scene of the crime with such realistic and precise detail. The affect is so believable that you would swear this was filmed exactly where and when it happened and not in a studio, sound stage or digitally created.

I know many will compare this film with United 93, so far one of the best films of the year, if not “the” best. World Trade Center is not perfect and there are signs (as in clichés) that this is a Hollywood product. But the excellent cast does justice to the characters with honest, respectful portrayals. For most of the film Cage and Pena are seen flat on the back, from the neck up, but nevertheless, send emotionally charged performances that are gut wrenching and riveting.

Some might also say there is no need for this film. It only brings back painful memories from 9/11 we are trying to forget. I could not help thinking about the thousands of innocent people who lost their lives in the very same building. A heartbreaking reminder comes in one scene at the hospital where Donna is listening to a grieving mother (Viola Davis) whose son worked in one of the Towers.

However, at its core is a life-affirming story about courage, hope, survival and one that honors the people who reached out to help others. Somehow we need to be reminded of the good that was evident amidst the evil acts of destruction and despair. Harrowing, gripping, painful and yet uplifting are words that come to mind in describing this film, and like those who died, unforgettable.