Top 100 Films #92 – United 93 (2006)

 

united-93-di#92. United 93 (2006)
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Christian Clemenson, Cheyenne Jackson, David Alan Basche, Peter Hermann, Daniel Sauli, Khalid Abdalla

Having just rewatched Paul Greengrass’ United 93 this past week, I can attest to how horrifyingly real the entire film is.  It covers the heroic efforts of those on board United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001, and does so in the most grounded way we’ve seen yet.  Greengrass opts for an almost purely procedural take of the events of 9/11, spending time with those on the ground in air traffic control centers and military installations in the early hours of that fateful day. When the events aboard United Flight 93 take place, the audience is moved because the film treats the material with the utmost respect, rather than using it to gain sympathy from the audience or as a platform to deliver any sort of message or agenda.  United 93 is one of the most difficult films I’ve ever sat through, purely because it captures the events of September 11th all too accurately.  Each watch transports you to that very day, and forces you to re-live the events over and over again.  Greengrass uses largely unknown actors in order to get naturalistic performances out of the entire cast – and boy does he succeed. Every shot in United 93 is moving and emotionally draining – I can’t possibly imagine a better tribute to the largest American tragedy of my lifetime.  Paul Greengrass’ film is a masterpiece, and I truly believe it will be recognized as such once we’re further removed from the events of 9/11.  If you haven’t yet seen it, you owe it to yourself to seek it out – if only to pay respects to all those brave souls aboard United Flight 93 who lost their lives that day.

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