CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"World Trade Center" is easily one of the best pictures of 2006

In 1992, Spike Lee encouraged students to skip school and go see his movie, “Malcolm X.” Fourteen years later, middle and high school teachers should arrange field trips for their students to go see “World Trade Center.” The film is excellent and it may present something that students have not seen from contemporary mass media, the heroic actions of police officers

“World Trade Center” opens with an alarm clock awaking New York Port Authority policeman, John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) at three in the morning. McLoughlin looks over his kids, drinks his coffee and drives to work during the sunrise of a beautiful morning. This poetic sequence performs an important frame of personal reference for the audience. We all know the evil that McLoughlin and his men will endure on the morning of September 11, 2001.

Along with Officer Will Jimeno (Michael Peña), McLoughlin and his volunteers enter one of the burning towers of the Worlde Trade Center. As the police and fire departments attempt to ascertain an evacuation for people trapped on the 30th floor, the officers hear sounds of the building buckling and creaking. With an instinct for danger, McLoughlin orders his men to run into the elevator shaft when the tower begins to crash down upon them.

The narrative henceforward elevates “World Trade Center” from a routine disaster flick or another political propaganda influenced Hollywood movie. The movie cross cuts from the peril of McLoughlin and his men to that of their families in waiting. Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal portray the wife of the police officers. These police wives are forced to deal with the task of explaining to their young children that their fathers are in trapped in a circle of hell.

“World Trade Center” is a rare modern Hollywood motion picture that presents a heroic
gung ho ex-Marine named Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon). Without authorization, save his old uniform, Master Sargent Karnes marches into hell for a heavenly cause. Thank God that America has a man like this in our time and thank God Oliver Stone acknowledged this individual who has completed two tours of duty in Iraq..

To his credit , director Oliver Stone arose above his own prejudice and created his masterpiece. Working from a script by Andrea Berloff, the focus of “World Trade Center” is on two men, their families and the event. Based on factual accounts, this film is epic in scope, but Stone manages to tell this gripping tale in two hours. Yet “World Trade Center” does not feel rushed.

Recently I met a fireman and I offered to write on an article about his memorial for the New York Firemen. When I mentioned I worked for a newspaper, the man would have nothing to do with me and any form of the media. He explained that he felt betrayed by a mass media that makes victims out of criminals. Given the preproduction publicity of “World Trade Center” and Hollywood's bleeding heart liberal tendencies; one expected another “George Bush-caused-9/11-conspiracy” flick. Instead Oliver Stone and Paramont Pictures have created a film that should be seen by today's middle, secondary and college students.

Check out the front page of "The Observer" this week at;
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