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Saturday, April 29, 2006
Top Flight

I just got back from watching United 93. I cannot recommend this movie strongly enough. I'm not a movie reviewer by trade or training, so I'll concentrate on my impressions.

Accuracy: Very accurate as far as we know. It does have the passengers getting into the cockpit, which apparently did not happen; but this was only announced a few weeks ago (at the Massaoui trial). The only other major bug that I noticed was that they didn't have the pilot announce that there was a bomb on board the plane, which was transmitted to the air traffic controllers by mistake. This was the confirmation that the plane had been hijacked.

Acting: Those were actors? Great job by all involved, particularly the guy at the air traffic control center (who apparently is the actual man who had that job on 9-11).

Cinematography: Occasionally jerky camera, but that just adds to the realism.

Positives: The first half the film is unemotional. This part of the film mostly takes place in various air traffic control centers, and while the controllers are upset and angry we are able to keep some distance. This is important because the emotions once the plane is hijacked are overpowering. You feel as though you are there, on the jet as the terrorists herd the passengers to the back.

There is confusion on the ground, which is realistic. For almost an hour after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, the controllers are still convinced that American Airlines Flight 11 was still airborne and a threat. A Delta flight is much talked about as a possible terrorist target, and at times this is confirmed. There's even a little something for the moonbats: At one point the military is trying to contact the President and they're told that he's airborne and nobody can reach him.

Oddly, they don't specifically indentify anybody other than the hijackers, although there are clues throughout for those in the know--Jeremy Glick is the one who wants to talk to Liz, Todd Beamer is the one who asks the operator to call his family. Mark Bingham is the guy with the rugby shirt who's the last to board the plane.

Negatives: For some reason they have Beamer reciting the Lord's Prayer with the supervisor, when actually he recited the 23rd Psalm, which includes this famous (and relevant) passage:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;

As the passengers subdue the first hijacker, there is a brief shot of a bloody hand, which is a cliched way of telling us that they did indeed kill him.

Overall, though, the movie is terrific and I highly recommend it. If you go, I suggest taking a moment or two afterwards to decompress before hitting the road, and drive carefully. You will feel emotionally drained, which is not always conducive to good driving.

Hot Air is collecting reviews here. I particularly recommend Rick Moran's take.

Mr Ugly American answers the question of why this film is not being heavily advertised on left-wing blogs. I should note that the Huffington Post has had quite a few ads on this film.


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