My friend Lynn took me and four other people to see a preview of the movie "World Trade Center."
It's the story of two Port Authority police officers who were buried alive in the rubble on 9/11 and who were pulled out alive. The officers were Sergeant John McLoughlin (played by Nicholas Cage) and Will Jimeno (played by Michael Pena). It depicts vividly and graphically the officers' descent into the pits of hell or into something that looks much like one would imagine to be the pits of hell. It also tells the story of the panic of the families of the two officers, when they find out that their loved ones are missing.
"World Trade Center" was a very gritty movie that strove for complete realism. There was altogether too much realism for me. Every shake, bump, and bang that the officers experienced was reproduced on screen. This produced an effect that should not be felt by those of us who are prone to motion sickness. A few sound effects without the shaking camera view would have produced the desired results, without creating a sensation of vertigo in viewers.
Another weakness in the movie was that it didn't give me a chance to know who the characters were before the disaster occurred. It turned two men into anonymous victims, instead of interesting people who were trying to survive despite the tremendous odds against them. Their families were depicted as panic striken and frantic. Other than that, they came across as being complete strangers.
More effort at character development in the script would have made this a much stronger, more emotionally moving film.
The rescue effort, however, was portrayed in an interesting way. For me, the character of former marine David Carnes (played by Michael Shannon) seemed to be the most interesting. He came across as a Don Quixote type, tilting at windmills and singing, "Onward to glory we go!"
Carnes managed to lead rescuers to the two trapped police officers in a slightly mad, yet heroic-type effort.
"I am Staff Sergeant Carnes," he told the other rescuers as he strode confidently onto the rubble of the World Trade Center.
I remembered from the musical, "I am I, Don Quixote!"
The ex-Marine believed that destiny was calling him to take this action.
Don Quixote felt the same way.
The former Marine was entertaining.
The movie's entertainment value was not sufficient, however, for me to recommend it to anyone. In fact, it felt as if I were trapped in a long nightmare. When the movie ended, I couldn't wait to get out of the theater. Unfortunately, the waves of vertigo that had hit at the early part of the movie, when the building shook and threatened to collapse on the heads of the Port Authority police officers, had not subsided. I had to get up slowly to get my bearings.
If you want to see a movie that depicts the 9/11 disaster and some of the rescuers involved, I recommend 9/11, a documentary by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. Originally planned to be a documentary about a new firefighter in his probationary period, this movie shows life in a firehouse when the disaster occurs. The two brothers present the lives of the firefighters, especially 21-year-old Tony Benetatos, with warmth. What happens to these firefighters and to one of the film makers, who is missing for a brief amount of time, matters to viewers who have gotten to know them before the disaster strikes.
Read more about this movie at http://www.ambafrance-us.org/culture/tv/programs/naudet911.html
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