Movie/DVD Review: World Trade Center

Film: World Trade Center
Starring: Nicholas Cage and Michael Pena
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Originally Released: August 9, 2006
Watched: September 11, 2008 via Netflix
Ebert Rating: 2.5 Stars
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
My Netflix Rating: ***** (Loved It)
Wikipedia Entry

Prelude

In commemoration of the 7th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this weekend and to honor the memory of those who died that horrible day, I’ll be reviewing two films that came out in subsequent years regarding the horrific events of that faithful day which changed our world: “World Trade Center” and “United 93.” God Bless the souls of the men and women lost that day 7 years ago today… If you’re interested in first hand accounts of that day feel free to peruse “Partygirl’s Archives” as she documented the events in NYC on 9/11 and the subsequent months first-hand.

Synopsis

Directed by Oliver Stone, this film follows the true-life activities of Port Authority police first responders the morning of 9/11. In particular it focuses on Sargeant John McLoughlin (Nicholas Cage) and Willy Jimeno (Michael Pena) and their team of Port Authority first responders who were among the first to arrive on scene to help with the evacuation of the Towers. In a combination disaster movie/suspense film/inspirational drama, the film documents the trials McLoughlin and Jimeno endured as they became buried under the rubble of the WTC after the Towers fell, the rescue efforts other first responders undertook to free them and the emotional effect it had on their respective families.

Thoughts

This film was pretty intense to watch. For all of us old enough to remember that day seeing the footage of the Towers in flames and the aftermath of Ground Zero still resounds fresh in my memories. The added perspective of seeing the event through the eyes of the first responders (initial plane crash, initial turmoil to the pure horror of seeing the officers buried alive as the Tower came down) is just tragic in every sense of the word. For myself it does bring home the enormous amount of selfless service and sacrifice First Responder give of themselves everyday. The film is very gripping as we see the pure torture McLoughlin, Jimeno and crew endure as they are all literally crushed beneath the rumble. We see the physical pain as well as the mental and emotional anguish they endure as they await help we fire and debris swirling and falling around them. We also see the equal amount of emotional anguish the families endure awaiting word of the fate of their loved ones. However, we also see the glimmers of hope as the rescue workers pour in to save our trapped heroes.

DVD Features

The DVD release contained the standard features you’d come to expect. Among the goodies are the following:

  1. Commentary track by Director Oliver Stone
  2. Commentary track by Will Jimeno, Scott Strauss, John Busching and Paddy McGee
  3. 10 Deleted/Extended Scenes (with optional commentary track by Oliver Stone)
  4. Previews of other films released on DVD

I normally don’t bother listening to commentary tracks as I don’t have that kind of time, but I would imagine listening to Jimeno, Strauss, Busching and McGee’s track must be VERY eye opening as to how the events of the day (and the days afterward) really went down.

The Verdict

The film’s ending sums it up best when it said (paraphrase), “9/11 showed us the worst and best sides of humanity. We saw pure evil in the attacks but we also saw the best humanity offers through the rescue workers who poured in and the everyday people who helped each other out through the horrific events of that day and beyond.

Many may find the film disturbing (as the events of the day itself were) but it is a great story and a well done portrayal of history as it happened and is definitely worthy of a watch. As for the DVD itself, if your moved by the film and value the history portrayed within it and the first-hand accounts of the survivors then this is a good keeper for your library.

Highly Recommended

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