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On Native Soil
On Native Soil
Actors: Kevin Costner, Hilary Swank
Director: Linda Ellman
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     2hr 0min

A documentary about September 11, where the 9/11 Commission Report is used to study the attack and the systemic flaws that allowed it to happen.

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Movie Details

Actors: Kevin Costner, Hilary Swank
Director: Linda Ellman
Creators: Linda Ellman, Allison MacEwan, Donald Webb, Jillian Twigger Moul, Peter Zifcheck, Tim Kinzy, Alan Winters, David Lewine, Eva Morris, Jeff Hays, Leah Milkie, Lee Troxler, Lenville O'Donnell, Mercedes Williamson
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/22/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Insightful and Sobering
Anonymous | 08/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On Native Soil is a brilliantly done, bipartisan and sobering look at Sept 11th and the subsequent commission. The failings of the US govt were truely mindboggling. The producers of this documentary have done a service bringing the 911 commission report to life in an easily watchable format that is truely moving. Bravo!"
Documenting the efforts by the 9/11 family members to get th
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For "On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report" to come out the same month that Americans lost the right to carry water and gels on airplanes is a potent irony because avoid another major terrorist attack makes you remember the last one. The thesis of Linda Ellman's 2005 documentary is that the families of the 9/11 victims shamed the government into establishing the 9/11 commission, and the climax of the film's narrative is not the publication of the commission's report but the public admission by former counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke that, "Your government failed you." I do not think "On Native Soil" will change you minds about what went wrong or who to blame, but at the very least it will remind us of the issues that should be under discussion.

Chances are you will pick up something new from this retelling of events. I do not know if I had forgotten or never realized that the second WTC tower that was hit was the first to collapse. The documentary covers a lot of ground quickly, especially with regards to the story of each of the four flights. What I found most interesting was what was happening with air controllers, the FAA, and the military air bases. A documentary on 9/11 told entirely from that perspective would be fascinating, because I can easily understand how communication and decision-making starts breaking down when you are talking about multiple planes being hijacked and crashed into buildings, where talking about "the hijacked plane" means different planes to different people. Even without throwing competing chains of command into the mix the resulting confusing is not only understandable, it is predictable and in all probability unavoidable.

Given a choice between believing the government to be corrupt or incompetent, I choose the latter. That is not to deny the presence of corruption, but that more often than not the explanation for the mistakes of the government has more to do with incompetence. Certainly that is what is evidenced by any objective look at what happened on September 11th, and there is little reason to think things have changed today. After all, if you can test formula and juice to prove it is not an explosive, then why does the same thing hold true for water and soft drinks? When I got on a plane last week there was a TSA officer standing by the door when we boarded the aircraft and they accepted any liquids people gave them, but they did not check anybody. Were they incompetent or corrupt?

The other driving dynamic of "On Native Soil" is the search for answers, but as the signs carried by family members outside the White House pointed out, there were 3,000 dead and 3,000,000 questions. I understand the impulse to want to believe that if Osama bin Ladan had been killed by this administration or the previous one, that 9/11 would not have happened, but I have to think that is too simplistic an approach, because clearly we live in a world where you cut off a head of this hydra and you are lucky if only one or two heads grow back. Everybody agrees that there will be another attack and given such a world view, which is totally realistic, anything you do to avoid such attacks smacks of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. If luck is the residue of hard work, then maybe the only criteria is whether we are working hard enough, and I do not know if we can ever say that we are when the stakes are this high.

Ultimately, the key question engendered by "On Native Soil" is not who to blame but whether or not we are safer today in the United States than we were on September 11th. The solution advocated here is to contact your representatives in Washington, D.C., and have them support the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission (beyond having a national Director of Intelligence the documentary does not really get into the specific recommendations). Is it not at all clear how much things have changed, and changed effectively, since then: for example, if a U.S. fighter pilot has a hijacked plane targeted enroute to a major American city, can they shoot it down to save thousands of lives or would the decision still be bucked around the chain of command? To the extent that I think we are that belief stems not from increased security at airports and the borders but because the British intelligence service appears to be very good at breaking up terrorist plots that have gotten well beyond asking Al Queada for boots and because the vast majority of Muslim fundamentalists bent on killing Americans are flocking to Iraq to go after our soldiers. The scary conclusion I come to after watching this film is that once again we will not know what we should have been doing until the post-mortem on the next big attack and somebody someone will be doing another documentary just like this one.

The Special Features on the DVD consist of (1) Senators John McCain & Joe Lieberman on the Formation of the 9/11 Commission; (2) Survivors: The Rest of Their Stories, devoted to Brian's rescue of Stanley, Colonel Birdwell's story of surviving the attack at the Pentagon, and David Lim's goodbye to his partner Sirus; (3) Accountability: Taking Responsibility, done from the perspective of the family members, the intelligence community, and the politicians; (4) Are We Safer Now That We Were Before 9/11? begins with a report card full of Ds and Fs for those responsible for security and responding to such emergencies and suggests that thing have not improved substantially man years later despite spending billions of dollars; (5) Court TV Special with Catherine Crier on the documentary; (6) Photo Gallery; and (7) 9/11 Commission Report (DVD-ROM Feature)."
An Insight to those who lived 911 as well as the Govt. failu
in1ear | 08/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you want to just see a dvd on the mistakes of the U.S. Government, this documentary does that and includes the complete "official" 911 Commission Report to peruse.
If you want to just see a dvd on the personal stories of those people affected directly, it does that too.
Most importantly, it looks at how 911 has changed America AND Americans. For five years, I've had to change the channel when 911 was the subject. If that's you too, I urge you to see this.
John Row
"Your government failed you..."
Wendy Schroeder | Englewood, Co United States | 08/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very powerful documentary. It still gives me chills to watch the first tower go down and to see people jumping out of the building. This is non-political film. No finger pointing that it was Clinton's fault or Bush's fault. It was both. The FAA Security could also have prevented this tragedy.

No one wanted to be responsible or be accountable.

Highly worth seeing."