World Trade Center movie review (2006) – Oliver Stone

world trade center movie review

The film “World Trade Center” is about two firefighters who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 against all odds. It combines portions of two films: one that Stone refers to above, and another that Cal Thomas turns over. It’s a disaster motion picture as well as an uplifting inspirational tale, both drawn from real events, which is why I’m torn.

There’s a clip in the film of Will Jimeno, a Port Authority Police Officer, talking about a young girl who survived for four days after being buried under debris during an earthquake in Turkey. Which raises the question: What if this were a movie about any other disaster, natural or human-made? Would American audiences react differently to it than they did to “Poseidon”? Is the film, in fact, exploiting still-tender emotions about 9/11 to sell another “Amazing Rescues” episode – Based on a True Story? That is something that viewers will have to determine for themselves while watching this movie.

world trade center movie

“WTC” is a movie with two fronts, one of which is against itself. “WTC” is a divided tale simply viewed as a film (a PG-13 disaster movie, an exploitation film, or an inspirational film, for example). The finest parts of the film are the moments between Sgt. John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Jimeno, pinned and immobilized in order to keep each other alive down in hell’s pit; they’re the most genuinely personal because you’re right there with them. There’s no need to overstate something as inherently dramatic as this.

In this scene, Stone keeps his camera tight on these individuals, conveying a sense of weight, heat, dust, and claustrophobia, and resists what must have been (for him) an alluring urge to ratchet up the piano-and-strings. He goes overboard with the slow motion throughout the early parts of the film, which fail to capture the tremendous pandemonium that most people who were there recall. There are even a few show-off CGI shots (such as one that rises through the tangled debris and high into the air above the vanished buildings), which appear almost decadently superfluous, but this is Oliver Stone, The Man With the Movie Mallet, so you get what you pay for.

The film’s delicate treatment of these individuals and their families is uncommonly restrained and considerate. This is why the grandiose manner in which Scorsese employs to mythologize the odyssey of USMC Staff Sgt. Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon), the film’s Hero with a capital “H,” seems so jarring and inappropriate. On September 11, 2001, because he perceived a job that had to be done and knew he had to accomplish it, the real-life Karnes traveled to Ground Zero. His deeds are genuine and unquestionably brave, yet they were cut short by Scorsese’s vision for his narrative.

See More:  Sarkaru Vaari Paata Movie Review (2022)

world trade center film

Instead, Stone transforms him into a colossal cipher, adding more music and shooting him from ominous (and pretentious) low angles, making him practically the Third Tower. Karnes is cast as a man of resolve with few words (when one of the rescue workers asks what he can call him for short, Karnes replies, “Staff sergeant”). But Stone adds even more gravitas to the mix and provides him a speech that appears far too flowery for his personality. Karnes arrives at Ground Zero and declaims that it is “as if God had made a curtain with the smoke to protect us from what we are not ready to see.” Because of its resonance in the context of my research on cultural differences, I’m not sure if Karnes actually said these words (though it does seem odd for a rescuer to tell another rescuer he’s on a mission to go “behind that curtain” to search for survivors), but as shown in the film, it has an incredibly false ring. The phrase “less is more,” as used by Stone, is something that just isn’t in his directorial vocabulary. (Giuliani’s flawless conduct and no-nonsense eloquence on September 11th might be instructive for him. Speaking of casualties: “I don’t think we want to speculate about that — more than any of us can bear.”)

Karnes is seen in the beginning wearing a baseball cap and sitting on the sofa, watching television like everyone else. “I’m not sure if you realize it yet,” he says, walking off screen, “but this nation is at war.” It’s apparent that he’s going to do something about it. A close-up of a bible with the book of Revelation open on it follows, then a shot of a looming cross. For a film that emphasizes personal over politics and religion, this is a little much. Stone’s novel overtly Christianizes 9/11 in ways that go beyond the convictions of his characters. A bright apparition of Jesus appears twice, but the first time it just appears out of nowhere and is followed by a memory-image of McLoughlin’s wife. Where did this Jesus come from? The second instance is directly linked to a character, making it seem natural and appropriate. That’s what I think happened to him, not just what the film tries to persuade you to perceive.

See More:  Jayeshbhai Jordaar Movie Review (2022)

Another example of how “WTC” loses credibility above ground: a former paramedic (portrayed by Frank Whaley, who is excellent but underused) regains his license and rediscovers his better self while assisting in the rescue of Jimeno and McLoughlin. It’s done quite effectively until his last minute on screen. When someone asks him what he does, Stone cuts to another one of those low-angle shots that he wields like a weapon, then lets a lengthy pause linger before answering: “Paramedic.” What an affront – to the character as well as the audience. It pulls you out of the film by reminding you that you’re watching a Hollywood production. The moment would have been much more affecting if Stone had not emphasized it three times and italicized it. Instead, the character is over-sentimentalized and leeched of some of his humanity in the process.

In other words, Stone does emphasize the unique human experiences. The source of the devastation is never addressed in the film, except in a few lines of dialogue about “those bastards.” 9/11, however, is a political event that must be dealt with politically, from its selection of TV clips to what it omits. “It appears to me that the incident was mythologized by both political sides into something they could exploit for political gain,” Stone explains. “I’m personally very excited about the film. I think it will help us reclaim our history, and remind us of what occurred that day in a very realistic manner. ” It’s not completely realistic, but it’s a PG-13 movie about mass murder that has been somewhat sanitized to appeal to a bigger, younger audience.

The disadvantage of films about people in such severe circumstances (particularly those that seek to follow the accounts of the survivors who lived the events depicted) is that they are robbed of some of their individuality. They must be reduced to human fundamentals, and this isn’t always good drama. Yes, we all think and possibly say something like, “Tell my wife and kids I love them,” but since we don’t know much about who these people were prior to 9/11 (chalk it up as a hazy day rather than the crystal clearfall morning we recall – where’s CGI when you need it? ), some of the moments in “WTC” feel more general than personal or worldwide.

See More:  Acharya Telugu Movie Review

Stories of survival are required, as is a “World Trade Center” viewing in light of its early (five years later?) attempts to cope with a galvanizing tragedy for many Americans. In ten years (or perhaps next week), I’m not sure whether this will be viewed as anything more than a typical TV film about a not-so-recent catastrophe. “WTC” is not a defining comment about 9/11 or one that will change your perception of the day. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I was reminded of what Stanley Kubrick wrote concerning “Schindler’s List”: “Think about how much you think this film is about the Holocaust. Isn’t it true that it’s all about success in this movie? The Holocaust is concerned with the murder of six million persons. ‘Schindler’s List’ focuses on six hundred individuals who don’t die.” That’s looking at things from a different perspective.

The film ends with a voice-over that summarizes the movie’s message, to the effect of “I saw good that day.” And it’s true – disaster has the ability to bring out people’s best qualities, more than they previously knew. 9/11 witnessed an infinite number of selfless, heroic, and compassionate deeds. But perhaps the most emotionally moving moment in “WTC” comes at the end of the film when it flashes forward to televised reactions from all around the world. It’s a reminder that 9/11 also represented a lost opportunity. It’s critical to recall the devastating day, not only for remembering those who were lost and to appreciate the numerous who put their lives on the line to assist others, but also for recognizing how much of the world came together in a period of unprecedented national unity and grief and pity because of it. It’s a devastating reminder of the enormous amount of good we’ve lost in the five years since. It would have been the most constructive and meaningful commemoration to those who were killed, as well as their families and survivors, had we been able to build on those feelings. Perhaps this is a political film after all.

Now you can watch this movie on Cinema HD app.


Film Credits

world trade center movie 2006

Directed: Oliver Stone

Written: Andrea Berloff

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Stephen Dorff, Jay Hernandez, Michael Shannon

Release date: August 9, 2006

Running time: 129 minutes

Country: United States

Country: United States

Movie Rating: 3.0/5

Movie Rating post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *