Sunday, May 07, 2006

Let's Roll

I saw United 93 last night. It's very good. If you're one of those people who think "it's too soon", go talk to Travis; Preach it my brother.

United 93 is probably the most realistic film I've ever seen. Note that I did not say "historically accurate". I wasn't there, so I don't know what really happened. The fact that this is based on actual events is irrelevant; a movie doesn't have to be real to be realistic. There are many powerful films out there (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List...) which get great praise, but they all contain those big Movie Moments; the dramatic close-ups, the long eloquent speeches. People in real life don't talk like that.

There are no Movie Moments in United 93. It's just total chaos, both on the ground and in the plane. When you ask yourself "how would people react on a hijacked plane?" the dialog in United 93 seems very true to me. People stutter and stammer and repeat themselves over and over. They all talk at once. The infamous line "let's roll" is in the film, but it's not what you'd expect. I think we all imagine Todd Beamer standing up in the aisle, gritting his teeth a-la Tom Cruise and snarling with great confidence "Let's Roll" as everyone else goes silent. But when you think about it, that's probably not how it really happened. In United 93, it's an almost flippant comment and is just one of many voices.

Sometimes it's tough to separate the actors from the roles, and I feel a little guilty praising the terrorist actors, but they are very, very good. They have very little dialog, but you can see... or FEEL how nervous they are about what they are about to do. Make no mistake; they are not sympathetic characters at all. But they are REAL in a way that Hollywood's $20 million club could never come close to potraying.

If it's too soon for you to see a 9/11 movie, by all means stay home. But allow others to appreciate what a unique film this really is.

I have one question though: how does product placement for United Airlines work for something like this? (what, too soon?)

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