United 93

Bomb Rating: 

There's simply no way to get around the fact that this film commercializes and exploits its subject.

Maybe the filmmakers behind "United 93" are donating all the profits to charity or to the victims of 9-11 and I haven't heard. If this is true and I haven't heard it, then my criticisms are possibly moot, but I doubt it.

There's simply no way to get around the fact that this film commercializes and exploits its subject. Does that mean a film shouldn't be made about the events of 9-11? I suppose maybe it does. Think of the irony here. The supposed reasoning behind the attacks of September 11th were that America was spreading capitalism all over the world and, in the process, destroying cultures. Radical Islam sees this spread of consumerism and "progress" as antithetical to Islam, so they fight it.

Look, I know this is simplistic and I'm certainly not trying to justify the actions of terrorist crazies, but basically, they see capitalism as a kind of cancer, rolling along and absorbing everything in its path. They might not be wrong. So, it's just a little bit ironic that we'd take such a symbolic event and turn it into a commercial enterprise. The movie's goal is to make money. Therefore, they're exploiting the tragedy.

So is it good or bad that Americans aren't supporting it? "United 93" was beat out by "RV", a shitty, little Robin Williams vehicle with virtually no redeeming value. It barely beat out "Stick It". How sad.

Director Paul Greengrass's film is basically a documentary-like look at the events of September 11th with the United 93 flight at its center. That flight, as everyone knows, is the one that didn't hit its intended target. Greengrass has constructed a version of what happened on that flight before it crashed. The actions of the passengers come across as less heroic than simply desperate and logical, which is not to diminish the bravery involved, but once the passengers realized that they were hijacked and two planes had been crashed into the World Trade Center, what else were they going to do? I suppose they could have done what the one European pacifist type on the plane recommends and just left the terrorists alone, but hell, we're Americans, we fight back.

It's hard to know what to say about this film, but rest assured that Hollywood wants you to buy a ticket along with some popcorn and a drink. The oil industry is hoping you drive to the theater. The restaurant industry is hoping you stop for a bite to eat after it's over. The fact that Americans don't seem to be interested is probably in our favor.

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