Commenting on United 93

Last night I watched United 93. Incredibly intense and you leave the theater speechless.
The question surrounding the movie is “Was it released too soon?” There is even disagreement within the families of those involved in this horrific event. For me, it wasn’t too soon but this movie is very difficult to watch so I would caution any movie-goer. It’s not like the Passion where we see Jesus resurrected after the gory crucifixion. It’s not like Schindler’s List where there’s resolve in the end. I am not really sure what it’s like. Raw is the only word that seems to come to mind.

The acting is different – they shot long improvisations (one lasted 40 minutes) because the intent was to be as real and as chaotic as it was on that fateful Tuesday. A couple of the actors are not professional and FAA Ben Sliney plays himself. Personally, I thought highly of the authenticity of the characters from those in the control rooms and especially the passengers. The men who played the terrorists were very convincing as well. You really believe that they believe in this disillusion to give glory to Allah in this most evil of ways.

Again, this movie may not be for everyone. But as difficult as it was to watch, I could not help but be moved by these courageous passengers who stormed the cockpit. Still can’t really wrap my mind around it.

A couple reviews:


  1. I don’t think it’s too soon. Granted my take on the events and how they affected me are vastly different from any American’s point of view (being Canadian).
    But I think that to not make films about it would be playing into the terrorists hands
    “See? The cowardly Americans are so afraid of us, they won’t ebven make movies about it”
    Stories like United 93 need to be told, if only to show the courage of terrorists victims.

  2. Good point.
    Also, the “too soon” also contains a financial concern that these movies will not do well at the box office. Supposedly this one will since it was relatively inexpensive to make but most people go to the movies to be entertained not to leave broken-hearted.

    Though I am not against the idea of being entertained, it tends to be glorified as too urgent of a criteria and need.

  3. Bent El Neel says:

    interesting point. I suppose movies about such events have always been made, but you’re right; this is different. It’s too fresh!!

    Besides, generally the bad guys in those movies (schindler’s list, la vita bella, etc) are long gone…but Bin laden’s mob are alive and well and multiplying everywhere.

    I would definetely watch it, but probably only once (only watched those mentioned above once). If only to shed a tear and say a prayer in memory of the innocent who were lost.

  4. jack in terms of the too soon financial concern the movie only cost 15 million to make (namely b/c no cost of star power, etc.)

    and after this weekend will have made 20 million…certainly not to soon for this porject…

    now Oliver Stone’s project…maybe, i have no idea how much his project will cost…also i don’t think it’ll be nearly as well received…then it might be too soon for what ever ideas he tries to push off on the audience.

    –RC of

  5. If anything, Oliver Stone should write Paul Greengrass a thank you letter for doing such a good job on United 93. I think the Stone pic. will be even more hyped but it will be interesting to see if the theatres are packed.

    Enjoyed your review. Anyone seeing reading this should check out your blog post on it. (Not being polite, it’s just a good review.)

  6. LadyCelticFire says:

    Ha Alex, you and I disagree for once LMAO

    Ok so heres my take and NO I have not watched nor do I intend to watch the film.

    I was sitting in a theater going to see a nice uplifting comedy. The previews were well previews. A nice funny one about a camping trip in a winnebago, a good little funny romantic comedy and THEN BAM this crap. AND no I am not saying I have no feelings for the poor brave individuals who lost their lives that day. LET me reitterate that fact again…. The people who died on Sept. 11th should be mourned and respected ALL of them, firefighters, the people on the planes in the buildings et al.

    BUT heres my problem with it…. Its like oh wait people are starting to become more and more aware of this catastrophy of a war we have gotten into, lets REMIND them WHY we are there. In other words lets LIE to them again. I am sorry I don’t by it.

    I think it is disrespectful and belongs back on TV during sweeps week. I watched the TV version they played a few weeks ago and found it to bea bit tiring.

    Call me heartless, but I refuse to feed into this hate Machine W. has created. i REFUSE to hate Muslims simply because a few of them are dim witted a holes just like I dont hate Christians because a few of them are the same way. But I am not buying into the lie and into the war machine…

    But hey, if its entertaining then Hollywood has suceeded and if it gets a few moe people to the W. Fold then the government has succeeded, but if it gets a holes to blow up more mosques, then I say its time for war on THIS hell hole of a country :D

  7. I don’t understand why it doesn’t belong in theaters but only on tv (during sweeps week?).

    I respect your wishes of not wanting to see it. So you know the movie is not a pro-Bush thing nor does it suggest in anyway that you hate Muslims. As one who went, I didn’t walk out the theater with either thought. Rather, I was moved by what I saw. It’s not intended to be entertaining and I am not sure inspiring is the right word either. All I know is I appreciated it while being saddened and moved by seeing more of what was reconstructed as happening from the information that we have of it.

  8. celticfire says:


    Well, things like Art and culture belong to the superstructure of a society and reflect the deeper shifts and contradictions within that. Keeping that in mind, why are movies like this being promoted like this, now?

    LCF makes good points about respectability to the families, and it goes deeper then that…

    Things aren’t looking good for the Bush administration and their imperial strong hold in the mid east. Approval ratings are down, there is mass public dissent, and even clamor for impeachment within the ranks of the bourgeoisie.

    A movie like this, be it a good or bad movie has a political motive — to re-mold and reenforce the fear most folks felt Sept. 11. It’s a “nudge” towards patriotism and conversvatism.

    There are movies I think that are hillarious, serious, thought-provoking, ignorant and just okay. But as a critical thinker, I think we have to dig deeper then the surface of emotional politics and get to the heart of the matter.

    Is it “too soon” for this movie? Depends on what you want people to be thinking/feeling/talking about.

    Should we live in September 11? Or should we live today?

  9. Kimberly Ann says:

    I went in to the theatre unsure of how I would respond to watching United 93. But it was excellent. I thought it was extremely tasteful and was not filled with distractable and marketable Hollywoodness.

  10. Hey Kimberly Ann,
    Nice to see you.

    I feel the same.

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