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"With a film like this, based on an event like this, people's emotions are tenfold. I've heard people complain that the movie spent too much time concentrating on the two men in the rubble. I've heard people say its not realistic. I can't comment on the second one, because I wasn't there. Like millions of other Americans, I was watching it all unfold on TV, and though I myself did not personally know anyone that perished that day, it still affected me greatly.
Stone's "World Trade Center" takes on a mammoth event of epic proportions and carefully tries to concentrate on an isolated event that slowly unfolded after the towers fell that day. Two port city authorities are still alive and trapped in the rubble, and are initially helped by a man who was so moved by the events that he put on his old Marine Corps uniform and descended down to ground zero to see what he could do to help.
One of my favorite actors on the screen today is Michael Pena, who plays the part of port authority policeman William J. Jimeno. As he and a crew of policeman head to the sight of the first tower, they start hearing about other happenings, such as the second plane and the pentagon getting hit. Stone's reenactment seems pretty fair, with its confused pedestrians and blood soaked wounded who are starting to fill the streets as they arrive. Jimeno's Sergeant is John McLoughlin (played by Nicolas Cage) and together they suddenly find themselves in the most awful situations they could ever realize.
Stone's portrayal of the initial shock of 9/11 is played out very subtle. The news reports, the confusion of what exactly happened, and the grim reality of the fact that some of the loved ones for so many wouldn't be coming home. The ash covered victims, the smoke and ultimately the feeling of loss is not drawn out so much, however, as the overall theme of strangers helping one another. A paramedic whose license had expired, the former Marine, and all of New York Cities Bravest and Finest are shown risking their lives to try and reach, extricate, and save the two men who they had found alive.
Much of the movie plays out with the dialogue that transpired between the two policemen, and how their combined support for one another, in different ways helped each other hold on to the hope they would keep each other alive and get out together.
9/11 is an event that for some is like yesterday, and always will be. For others, the experience maybe seems in another world, mythic and legendary forever. I wasn't sure how Stone would tackle this project, and was not sure if I even was ready to watch it. I'm glad I did. For all the ugliness that man is accountable for, this movie shows that sometimes its times like these that bring out the best in people. My heart goes out to everyone who lost someone that day, and my hat is off to all the firefighters and police officers who continue to serve the city of New York, with the memory of their fallen colleagues never far away."
Respect, Mr. Stone
H. Schneider | window seat | 04/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember Sep 11 like this: I was visiting in Shanghai, came to my hotel room in the evening, not so late, turned on CNN as usual, and saw a plane fly into one of the towers. It took me quite some time to understand what I had just seen. I called my wife and asked her to turn on TV at home. She had not heard yet. I never felt more American than on that day. I am German, by the way. When I heard that Oliver Stone was making a movie about this, I could not believe it. Too early, too monumental, too emotionally loaded, too ideologically simple. This could only become a bad film. It hasn't. It is a simple story about confusion and heroism and survival. Well done. You never see a plane fly into anything. You only hear people talk about it, but there are also some who don't believe it. It shows you the segmented vision of people who are near the center. People watching TV in Shanghai probably knew more of what actually happened right at the time than those caught in the middle of it. Stone stays away from explicit interpretation, he leaves that to the spectator."
World Trade Center Dvd
Gilbert R. King | Rhode Island USA | 01/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was great. It was awesome to see Oliver Stone give 9/11 the special treatment and respect to the actual event as it happend. My only gripe about the DVD is that it was not presented in its full movie aspect ratio of 2.35.1 This is one of Oliver Stones favorite formats and it unfortunately had to be done in the "enhanced for 16x9 modes" I am a huge fan of movies done in 2.35.1 Hopfully this movie will be re released as a special edition edition that showcases the whole movie. I looked at the movie database online and they list the aspect ratio as 2.35.1. I know most people wouldn't care about this but once you see what you are actully missing you get used to seeing movies in the letteboxed format. Check out widescreen.org for more info and some side by side comparisons."
Saddened, shamed, amazed, and repulsed....at the reviews!
J. Fryer | Nicholasville, KY | 12/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I overcame my own intentions NOT to watch this film. We lived this tragedy such a short while ago in all the terror, reality, horror, and stunned sorrow, it seems we are imposing fiction on reality and watching watered-down films of the tragic realities, I thought perhaps to make the feelings less painful.
I decided to watch this film and 'United 93' because I think the victims they portray and their families deserve our respect and honor. In both instances, the families gave their blessing, even their urging, for the films to be made.
Now I find that reading these reviews is even more painful than watching the films.
That we, the American people, could characterize the words of men in imminent danger of dying under tons of rubble due to circumstances faced while serving their fellowman as 'idle chit chat' makes me gasp at our heartlessness and our crass insensitivity to the real heroes and their families.
A reviewer decrying the lack of a 'goosebump factor' in a film portraying one infinitesimal personal portion of an event that changed individual's lives and the lives of Americans as a population to an amazingly huge degree, makes me wonder about the psyche of our humanity and the lack of understanding about and compassion for the pain of our fellow citizens.
That 'no-action' could be a phrase used when describing 'pretty-close-to-reality' depictions of personal sacrifice and tragedy as two men face death buried beneath the ruins of two of American's largest buildings caused me to question the lack of empathy we feel for those around us.
Lastly, I question how anyone who lived through the events of 09-11 aired into our homes and burned into our psyche in such tragic minute detail that millions who didn't personally know even one individual involved in this horrific event have had their lives changed forever, could feel 'boredom' while glimpsing such intimate details of two heroic survivors.
There may have been more in the following reviews that I could have been saddened by, but my surprise and revulsion in reading just the few I did read caused me to have to stop and take a deep breath and bow my head in shame for so many of the inhabitants of this great nation.
While my reason for finally watching this film may be difficult for some to understand, it cannot possibly be as hard to accept or rationalize as patrons who watched it for 'action', 'goose bumps', 'deep conversations', or to relieve 'boredom' when we all know the tragic details of the true circumstances being depicted. Heaven help us as individuals and America as a whole.
Very well crafted.
Brian Manley | Portland,Or | 12/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oliver Stone has made a very compelling and respectful portrayal of one of the most inspiring stories of survival in our time. I've seen a lot of movies in my life and this one is one of the few that have stayed with me for days after seeing it. I was engaged from beginning to end. World Trade Center also feels like one of Stone's earlier films like Salvador or Platoon.Very raw. There are a few minor flaws. The only complaint I have is the portrayal of Staff Sargeant Karnes. It simply stands out too much in comparison to the natural portrayal of the rest of the characters. This is still a good film and an important film. Anybody who snubs Stone for not making the conspiracy film they expect from him need to get over it and see this. If he wanted to make a conspiracy film he would have. He wanted to spread some hope. How could anyone have a problem with that? Thank you,Oliver! "