A Bumpy Ride Through an Attempt to Explain 911
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Television pilots that fail to be picked up as series are showing up on the shelves as movies and the transition is all too apparent. HOMELAND SECURITY was supposed to be a series for TV, a form of explaining how the Department of Homeland Security came into being after the tragedy of 911. The 'film' version is mildly instructive, mildly entertaining, and in the end it is a hodge podge of ideas of how a long series might run crammed into 87 minutes.
What begins as a diatribe against the lack of cooperation and interaction among the CIA, FBI, and military intelligence (lower case intended!) suggesting that had their been centralization of information, perhaps 911 could have been prevented, ends up as a sprawling mélange of ill-connected pieces. The problems arise in attempting to explain the intricacies of the schisms in Afghanistan (a lot of pyrotechnique footage for this confusing section) along with the preludes of terrorist sub rosa influx into the country, footage from the 911 events, and personalization of some of the perpetrators and victims - all in compressed time broken by obvious black screen moments where TV commercials were placed.
The cast (Tom Skirett, Scott Glenn, Grant Show, Marisol Nichols, et al) tries hard to make the fuzzy script (written by Christopher Crowe) work, but the direction by Daniel Sackheim is jittery and ultimately seems to sell out to the political Right - probably at the demand of the non-cable TV network. Probably at the inception of the idea of tracing the evolution of Homeland Security as a force more intelligent in centralization of information was a good idea. It just gets too watered down and relies on the repetition of the line 'it was all there in front of us waiting for us to connect the dots'. Still, some food for thought. Grady Harp, August 05"