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United 93

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for brief strong language and intense sequences of terror and violence)

Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Paul Greengrass
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Lloyd Levin
Starring: Lewis Alsamari, JJ Johnson, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, Opal Alladin, Starla Benford
Studio: Universal Pictures

I remember September 11. To me, it was just a day like any other. But to the world, it was a tragedy. I wasn't even ten years old when those tragic events of that fateful day took place. When I was told about what had happened, I didn't really know what to think. I suppose, being that young, I didn't understand the seriousness of it or what it meant for our nation and our future. One thing I remember vividly about that day was that I spent it not thinking about what had happened. Everyone else around me seemed so affected by the tragedy and I wasn't. I felt nothing, when I should have. If those events had occurred now, at this point in my life, I have no clue what my reaction might be. But as the old adage says, hindsight is 20/20.

Paul Greengrass' United 93 gives us a real-time account of what happened on September 11, 2001. As I did, everyone else started out his or her day without a care in the world. The air traffic controllers and military units prepared for a day like any other as did the passengers who would soon board the four planes that were to be hijacked. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Another crashed into the Pentagon. United 93 is the story of the fourth plane, which was meant to crash into the Capitol Building if not for the brave actions of the plane's passengers. Even though everyone knows how the film will ultimately end with the plane crashing into an open Pennsylvania field, it's still a compelling, gut-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat piece of work that you'll be thinking about for days after you see it.

The first hour and change of United 93 mainly focuses on the different air traffic control centers, where the employees are slowly beginning to see the big picture of things and the last half hour is spent almost completely on the aircraft, from the time it is hijacked to the eventual outcome. I have to commend director Greengrass for this film. He has made probably the best film of his career and, if not for Clerks II, probably the best film of 2006. No big-name actors were hired for United 93, giving us the feeling that the passengers of Flight 93 are being portrayed by themselves. The last fifteen minutes includes one of the most intense sequences in years, in which the passengers try to take back the plane and land it safely. If this film does nothing else for you, it will make you remember September 11. Some say United 93 is being released way too soon, but the people saying that are the ones that don't want to remember. As my father says, "We should always remember."

The passengers of Flight 93.
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